About 1,000 gallons of raw sewage spills from Siesta Key Master Lift Station as a result of Hurricane Idalia’s effects

Recovery of effluent not possible because of conditions, county staff tells FDEP

This graphic shows the site of the Siesta Key Master Lift Station. Image courtesy FDEP

Approximately 1,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled form the Siesta Key Master Lift Station on Aug. 30 as a result of flooding from Hurricane Idalia, Sarasota County Public Utilities staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The lift station, which is located at 5200 Oakmont Place, close to Glebe Park, “continued to function as flows exceeded system capacity,” the report said. “To slow and alleviate the spill,” the report explained, “flow was diverted to the on-site, 2-million-gallon sewage reservoir buffer tank.”

The site of the lift station once was home to Siesta Key’s wastewater treatment plant. It is next to the Grand Canal and just north of the Siesta Isles community.

Because the spill occurred during Hurricane Idalia’s tropical storm force winds and rain, recovery of the sewage, clean-up of the site and water sampling — which are required by county protocols — “were not possible,” the report pointed out.

Flooding on both the north and south portions of Siesta Key on Aug. 30 prompted the City of Sarasota to order the Siesta Drive drawbridge closed to traffic for most of the day and Sarasota County staff to close access to the island via the Stickney Point Road bridge for hours.

The lift station incident began about 4 p.m. on Aug. 30 and did not cease until 5:45 p.m., the report added.

The red balloon marks the site of the lift station on this aerial map. Image from Google Maps

The lift station has returned to normal operation, the report said.

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.”