Bridgeport barge moved to Northeast Florida shipyards

HANNA PARK, Fla. — Morgan Smith surfs at Hanna Park almost every day.

Action News Jax told him the Bridgeport barge had been moved earlier Friday morning.

“I think all the surfers are probably pretty happy about it being moved,” Smith said. “No one wants to be surfing with some toxic stuff.”

The barge came from a Puerto Rico power plant.

A spokesperson for the recovery effort said it was carrying coal ash of Agremax waste product, a material used in concrete. The spokesperson said potentially up to 9,000 tons of coal ash was on the barge in March, the barge ran aground outside the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Then in May, a storm caused it to spill some of the waste into the sea.

The Action News Jax Sky Vision drone captured video of the Bridgeport as it made its way down the St. Johns River Friday. Its large basin showed what looked like remnants of ash.

Water sampling reports from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection showed trace amounts of arsenic, lead, and mercury. A DEP spokesperson said the findings did not cause water quality violations according to the state’s standards.

When asked about the recovery effort, Smith was pretty understanding. ”There’s always room for improvement. But you know it’s a complex process getting the barge out, so it’s understood.”

Smith calls the ash spill “pretty alarming” but says he’ll surf regardless.