About 1,500 gallons of raw sewage spilled from Sarasota County facility located at Bent Tree Country Club

Workers were able to recover about 1,000 gallons from stormwater ditch, report says

This map shows the site of the Bent Tree Master Lift Station. Image courtesy FDEP

About 1,500 gallons of raw sewage spilled Jan. 17 on the grounds and into a stormwater ditch in the area of a lift station that is part of Sarasota County’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility, county staff reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The site appears to be on the grounds of the Bent Tree Country Club, in the eastern part of the county, based on an FDEP map provided with the report.

About 1,000 gallons of the raw sewage was recovered from the ditch, the report adds. “The spill did not reach any surface waters,” it points out, so no water sampling was necessary.

At 11 a.m., the report says, staff responded to an alarm indicating a high wet well condition at the county’s Bent Tree Master Lift Station. When county personnel arrived on the scene, the report continues, they found that all three of the lift station pumps were running, but the pumps “could not keep up with the flow.”

Triple “D” Pump Co. explains, “The purpose of a lift station is to receive, store temporarily as needed, and move wastewater and/or [stormwater] through a collection system.

“The two generic types of lift station designs are wet well and wet well/dry well. The wet well/dry well type uses a wet well or pit to collect wastewater and a companion dry well which contains the pumps, controls, and related equipment,” Triple “D” Pump Co. notes.

“The submersible wet well lift station has become the norm and is preferred in present day applications. … All system components are installed in or contiguous to the single wet well,” the Triple “D” Pump Co. document adds.

An aerial map shows the vicinity of the Bent Tree Master Lift Station. Image from Google Maps

The county report says, “Two pumper trucks were called in to help transfer sewage out of the master lift station,” and a bypass pump was connected to the lift station piping to reduce the level of fluid in the wet well.” After the flow was diverted from the station, the report adds, the pumps were removed and “de-ragged,” which enabled the levels to return to normal. (Modern Pumping Today explains that “ragging” is “a common challenge in wastewater pumping …” It entails the buildup “of fibrous materials and modern trash,” leading to frequent pump blockages.)

County staff cleaned up the site and issued the appropriate notifications, as required by the Public Utilities Department protocols, the report says. The incident ended at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, the report adds.

Further, the report notes, the Bent Tree Master Lift Station is “scheduled for upgrades to address this type of situation.”

The County Commission has approved a number of steps over the past couple of years to upgrade the county’s water reclamation facilities and related infrastructure, in an effort to prevent spills and to improve the quality of the reclaimed water.

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