In March 2021, a barge (Bridgeport) ran aground in the Atlantic Ocean about a mile from Hanna Park, northeast of Atlantic Beach. The cargo aboard the Bridgeport contained Agremax, a material used in road construction and other projects.
Weather conditions have made it difficult for salvage crews to transfer the Agremax from the barge; and, in May, an undetermined amount of Agremax was discharged into the ocean. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) do not deem Agremax to be hazardous material, its release in the ocean is considered to be an unauthorized discharge of solid waste. No advisory or warning has been issued and, as of June 7, the barge Bridgeport remained grounded.
The salvage operation and the potential environmental hazard associated with it continue are monitored daily by the EPA and FDEP. FDEP has identified Dann Ocean Towing, Inc., as the responsible party; the salvage operation is being led by Global Diving and Salvage, Inc.
The City of Atlantic Beach does not have an oversight, regulatory, or enforcement role, and it is not a primary source for information regarding this matter. Still, the City is monitoring daily updates and has well-established lines of communication with the U.S. Coast Guard, FDEP, and the salvage team. Upon receiving substantial briefings on the salvage operation on April 6, May 27 and June 6, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser has provided informational summaries to the community knowing this is a matter of public interest. Federal and state government stakeholders continue to communicate with the City of Atlantic Beach, as requested, and Dann Ocean Towing provides a daily update on a public website: www.bargebridgeportresponse.com.June 11, 2021 note regarding sampling/testing: FDEP has advised the City of Atlantic Beach that testing was recently performed at the barge site for baseline purposes, and that the results will be reported to the City when they are available. FDEP further advises that beach sand has been tested and no contaminants were found.
Mayor Glasser April 6, May 27 and June 6 informational summaries
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WJCT coverage 6-4-21