About 10,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled near intersection of Cowpen Lane and Fruitville Road

Contractor hit pipeline while collecting soil samples

This graphic shows the location of the sewage spill. Image courtesy Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Responding on Sept. 11 to a report of a possible break in a primary county water pipeline on Fruitville Road, Sarasota County Public Utilities Department workers found instead that a contractor had struck and broken an 8-inch sanitary sewer force main about 1,200 feet east of the intersection of Fruitville Road and Cowpen Lane, staff informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“Approximately 10,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into the adjacent swale and stormwater canal, and approximately 7,900 gallons [was] recovered from the site,” staff told FDEP officials in the report.

The contractor was collecting soil core samples on the south side of Fruitville Road when the incident occurred, the report explains. County staff was notified about the possible water pipeline break at 9:48 a.m. on Sept. 11, the report adds.

The break was isolated to stop the spill while recovery of the effluent and repairs were underway, the report continues. Clean-up and the issuance of notifications to surrounding property owners were proceeding according to county protocol, the report says.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, “Force mains are pipelines that convey wastewater under pressure from the discharge side of a pump or pneumatic ejector to a discharge point. Pumps or compressors located in a lift station provide the energy for wastewater conveyance in force mains.”

It took the county crews until 12:30 p.m. to complete their work, the report notes.

This is another aerial map showing the general location of the spill. Image from Google Maps

“An incident report will be filed” with county risk management personnel, to seek reimbursement from the contractor, the report adds.

Planning for new developments have been underway in that part of the county, with applicants routinely required to provide county staff with environmental reports. Much of the land was used in the past for agricultural purposes; thus, staff wants to know about the presence of possible contaminants in the soil.