50,000 gallons of fully treated reuse water seeps out of tank on grounds of Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility

None of water could be recovered from site

 Approximately 50,000 gallons of fully treated water, which could be reused for purposes such as irrigation, spilled from a 2-million-gallon tank on the grounds of Sarasota County’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) early in the morning of Jan. 16, county Public Utilities staff reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Operators at the site observed the water seeping from the tank, the report said. Quick troubleshooting by the staff and its management team resulted in the cessation of that seepage, the report added.

Further investigation determined that county Field Operations staff had been isolating valves in the area of Loraine Road and Bee Ridge Road, the report explained. Those staff members inadvertently had isolated the Bee Ridge WRF, the report said.

The facility stands at 5550 Lorraine Road in Sarasota.

“All valves are now open and the plant is operating under normal conditions,” the report added.

The 50,000 gallons spilled onto the ground around the tank, the Jan. 16 incident report noted.

No recovery of the water was possible because of the site conditions, the report pointed out. Clean-up of the area and notifications were proceeding according to county protocol,” the report said. Additionally, it pointed out, “No surface waters were impacted,” so no sampling was required.

The county’s website explains that the Bee Ridge WRF serves the northern part of the county. “Wastewater is pumped to the treatment plant through a network of underground pipes and lift stations,” the website adds. “At the Bee Ridge WRF, incoming wastewater is screened first to remove inorganic material. After screening, the wastewater goes through a biological process followed by filtration and disinfection of the reclaimed water.”

Further, the website notes, “The Bee Ridge treatment plant is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week by State of Florida licensed treatment plant operators.”

The facility is undergoing a transition to Advanced Wastewater Treatment status, and it is being expanded to handle 50% more effluent — from up to 12 million gallons per day to 18 million gallons per day.

The Jan. 16 incident began at 5:15 a.m., the report said; the problems were resolved by 6:30 a.m.