About 3,000 gallons of wastewater spills at Nokomis site after power line fails at county lift station

Approximately half of wastewater recovered

The red balloon marks the general site of the Old Trail lift station. Image from Google Maps

An Aug. 23 power outage at Sarasota County’s Old Trail Lift Station — just east of U.S. 41 in Nokomis, at 803 Old Trail — resulted in approximately 3,000 gallons of wastewater spilling onto the ground and into a ditch, county Public Utilities staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

A vacuum truck was able to recover about 1,500 gallons from the surrounding area, the report said. No surface waters were affected, the report pointed out, so no water sampling was necessary.

Lime was put down at the site, the report added.

The National Lime Association explains on its website, “Quicklime and calcium hydroxide (hydrated lime) have been used to treat biological organic wastes for more than 100 years. Treatment of human wastewater sludges (i.e., biosolids) with lime is specifically prescribed” in regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

After responding to the incident, workers had to wait for a portable generator to be delivered to the site; the generator will keep the lift station functioning until Florida Power & Light Co. workers replace the failed power line, the report explained. The estimate was that it would take a week for that project to begin, the report said.

The outage began at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, the report noted. The county crews had the issues resolved by 11:15 a.m.

The lift station is part of the county’s Venice Gardens Water Reclamation Facility infrastructure, the report said.

This map shows the exact site of the lift station. Image courtesy FDEP

High Tide Technologies explains, “A wastewater lift station is a pumping station that moves wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. The benefit of using a lift station in a sewage collection system is that it saves a substantial amount of money in excavation costs, which involves digging for sewer pipes. Sewer pipes live underground, and digging trenches is costly. Installing a wastewater lift station at certain points in a gravity pipeline system saves on front-end construction costs without sacrificing efficiency or functionality. They play an integral role in moving sewage to a wastewater treatment plant.”