News Feature | November 3, 2017

Child's Death Raises Septic Tank Safety Questions

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

park reg new

The body of a missing boy was found in a septic tank in a park in Jacksonville, FL, last month.

Amari Harley, the child, was only 3 years old. His death has raised concerns about septic tank safety.

“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate Amari’s death and has released no information about whether the lid was secured to the tank when he went to the Arlington park on a family outing. The Sheriff’s Office has not released any information about whether the lid was on or off when the frantic search turned toward the tank,” The Florida Times-Union reported.

“Investigators [said] a tip led them to search the underground water tank inside the park, which they said is large enough for a small child to slip in to. Once the tank was drained, the body was discovered,” CBS News reported, citing WJAX.

Jacksonville officials are attempting to shore up holes in safety regulations.

“Mayor Lenny Curry ordered a review of safety and security measures at hundreds of city parks after Amari’s death. Curry said last week that he expects to direct standardization of all lids at the 76 parks that have underground tanks in them. Concrete lids and locks are among the options being considered,” The Florida Times-Union reported.

Florida health regulations state that septic tank lids must be child-resistant, according to the Times-Union.

“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate Amari’s death and has released no information about whether the lid was secured to the tank when he went to the Arlington park on a family outing. The Sheriff’s Office has not released any information about whether the lid was on or off when the frantic search turned toward the tank,” the report said.

Harley went missing during a family event at the park on October 22, Time reported. Relatives called the police when they could not find him. It was not immediately clear how Harley entered the tank.

Image credit: "Bok Tower, Florida," Ricardo's Photography © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/