Mayor to standardize septic tank lids at parks after child found dead

The city and JSO are investigating how 3-year-old Amari Harley died. He was found unresponsive in a septic tank at Bruce Park.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While at a press conference Tuesday about hurricane debris pick up, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was peppered with questions by reporters about an entirely different issue facing the city: safety of sewer tank lids at public parks.

"It was a horrific situation," Curry said. "The city continues to mourn."

Three-year-old Amari Harley was found unresponsive in an underground septic tank Sunday at Bruce Park.  That lift station had a plastic-like lid on its tank at the time and was soon replaced with a cement lid.

Many at the press conference asked Curry: "How did the child get into the tank?" and "Was the lid secure?" 

"I have ordered a review of all these parks," Curry said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating the case while the city checks out the lids at lift stations at parks.

"There are various other lids through the city." Curry said during a press conference about Harley's death on Tuesday. "There's one other park which has a similar situation."

Mayor Curry said the other park with a similar septic tank and lid is at Forestview on Jacksonville's northwest side.

A man who says he oversees Forestview Park did not want to speak on camera, but he confirmed the lid is plastic in nature and it's screwed down. He said he thought that lid had been there for 10 to 15 years.

First Coast News asked the city for a list of lift station inspections. However, Forestview Park -- the one with a similar lid -- was not on the list. 

First Coast News asked city staff the following questions: Why wasn't Forestview Park listed? Are inspections taking place at Forestview Park? What is the status of that park's lift station and lid?

A city spokesperson said the city will "research" this for us.

Meanwhile, Mayor Curry announced the city has a plan to "standardize every lid."

The mayor added that as the city standardizes these septic tank lids, his staff will look for the safest materials and mechanisms available, which may include locks or concrete.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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