A company contracted by the city of Jacksonville to inspect Bruce Park’s septic-tank system had not yet completed its monthly inspection when a 3-year-old boy on a family outing was found dead inside a tank on Oct. 22, according to summaries submitted to the city by Environmental Remediation Services.
Prior to Amari Harley’s death, the most recent inspection of Bruce Park’s septic-tank system occurred on Sept. 12, when Environmental Remediation Services determined “All Opps OK.”
If the October inspection at Bruce Park had been done prior to Amari’s death, the findings of that inspection could have helped Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office by giving investigators updated information beyond the results of the Sept. 12 inspection.
The Sheriff’s Office has been seeking to determine what went wrong at Bruce Park and how Amari ended up in one of the underground tanks, whose openings are supposed to be protected by lids that are child-proof and resistant to tampering and vandalism.
Environmental Remediation Services, also known as ERS, has a contract with the city to do monthly inspections of city-managed septic tanks and lift stations throughout Jacksonville, including the system at Bruce Park.
In wake of Amari’s death, Mayor Lenny Curry ordered a sweeping review of safety and security measures at all city parks. ERS assisted the city in that review.
The city replaced the lids at the Bruce Park septic-tank system with heavy concrete covers. The lids had been made of material described as heavy rubber.
ERS did its monthly inspection of Bruce Park’s septic-tank system on Oct. 31, determining that “pumps need to be replaced,” according to information submitted by ERS to the city that lists the findings at 129 locations inspected during October.
A Jacksonville resident complained in January about an “uncovered hole” at one of the underground tanks in Bruce Park. The city says it fixed the problem the next day. On Feb. 13, an ERS inspection found another problem, resulting in the city re-securing the lid.
Curry has said the city will standardize the lids covering underground tanks at all parks “with the best, safest and most secure” material that exists.
The city has not yet released the findings of its review of hundreds of city parks, or recommendations from that review.