Friday, September 12, 2008
E COLI FOUND IN SEBASTIAN RIVER -- JUDITH SERAPHIN'S LETTER TO ST. AUGUSTINE COMMISSIONERS UNANSWERED, AREA STILL NOT POSTED
September 8, 2008
Mayor Joseph Boles & City Commissioners
City of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida 32085
RE: CONTAMINATION OF OUR RIVERS
Dear Mayor Boles and Commissioners:
My Global Wrap® office is located at 218 Riberia Street on the marsh. On Friday, September 5, 2008, what appeared to be raw human sewage -- loose feces -- was observed floating in the water near our back deck. We reported it to the National Response Center, County Health Department and Florida Department of Environmental Protection. FDEP collected samples of contaminated water. City testing revealed 1440 and 2050 colony-forming units per 100 ML. In English, anything over 800 is illegal.
I first brought concerns about E coli to our City Commission months ago, when I stood before you and told City Commissioners we have a major health problem in our water because of E coli counts. At one of those City Commission meetings, Mayor Joseph Boles referred to those who spoke as ‘the entertainment portion of the meeting.’ I don’t consider dangerously illegal levels of E coli – which could be life-threatening for some of our residents --- to be entertaining or funny.” I consider this to be a serious environmental health hazard, period.
On July 21, at the St. Augustine Record candidates’ night, I attempted to brief Mayor Boles about E coli that was found at the waste water treatment plant in 2006. Mayor Boles was not interested – he told me to talk to John Regan, who would brief him on the high fecal coliform rates because the reason he has a staff is for people to talk to them and the staff will inform him. This is not plausible deniability – it is arrogance.
How many people have to get how sick and how dead before you realize that we have a problem? The high E. coli levels at the Waste Water Treatment Plant and in our rivers require an immediate response. I demand that the City and State post the affected areas ‘no fishing/no swimming/no water contact” and instruct the City Police and Harbormaster to enforce it. I demand that any unpermitted discharge pipes owned by anyone (including the City) be located, and the violators (even if it’s the City) be brought to justice.
It’s about time you Commissioners put people first.
This is not the end, I will not rest until we are safe – until the water surrounding St. Augustine is safe for all of us – citizens and visitors alike.
JUDITH SERAPHIN, CEO
GLOBAL WRAP LLC
218 Riberia Street
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Listening to the snippiness from St. Augustine Commissioners and City Staff since forever in response to citizen concerns reminds me how uninterested, uninteresting and lacking in intellectual ability many of them are. See the diagram below on levels of disagreement -- ponder what we've learned on this blog and see that most of what the City has to say to our neighborhood activists falls at the bottom run -- especially Commissioner ERROL JONES, whose lack of substance and lack of interest in the welfare of Lincolnville community is utterly appalling.