About 1,800 gallons of sewage spilled into stormwater pond after electrical problem at Sarasota County’s Fruitville Master Lift Station

None of effluent could be recovered

This graphic shows the location of the Fruitville Master Lift Station. Image courtesy FDEP

On the evening of Sunday, March 7, an electrical failure at Sarasota County’s Fruitville Master Lift Station resulted in the spill of approximately 1,800 gallons of sewage into a nearby stormwater pond, the county has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

None of the effluent could be recovered, the report said. Therefore, mandatory water sampling was underway. Site clean-up and notifications of adjacent property owners were proceeding “per protocol,” the report added.

At 6:15 p.m. on March 7, the report said, county utility crew members “responded to the report of manholes overflowing in the Fruitville Master Lift Station Basin.” The initial investigation “revealed an electrical failure in the control circuitry,” which resulted in the pumps ceasing to function, the report added.

“Crews were able to restore power to the pumps and stop the spill,” the report continues. “The control circuitry was replaced, and the lift station was able to return to normal operations,” the report noted.

The spill ended at 6:45 p.m. on March 7, the report said.

The Fruitville Master Lift Station is part of the county’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation facility’s system, the report added.

This aerial map shows the site of the Fruitville Master Lift Station (marked by the red balloon), which is near the lake at Nathan Benderson Park (left). Image from Google Maps

On Nov. 29, 2019, about 5,000 gallons of sewage spilled from that same station after a control circuit was damaged, the county reported in a document prepared for FDEP in June 2020. As the facility was being rehabilitated at the time, the report explained, the control circuit issue likely resulted from action by an employee of the contractor.

Through 2020, that report added, the station operated without further incident.

The county commissioners have approved a number of projects designed to upgrade county wastewater infrastructure. The Bee Ridge facility itself is scheduled to be transformed into an Advanced Wastewater Treatment operation, with 50% more capacity, by the end of 2025.