County equipment failure blamed for Aug. 22 incident
About 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22, Sarasota County staff responded to a call about sewage flowing out of a manhole near 5124 Ocean Blvd. in Siesta Key Village, county staff notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
Altogether, about 200 gallons spilled onto the street and into a nearby ditch, staff reported on Aug. 23.
The site is near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Avenida Madera, on the northern end of Siesta Village.
Upon arrival at the scene, a county crew discovered an equipment failure had resulted in the spill, the FDEP report noted. “The controller was reset and the station resumed normal operation,” the report said.
That took about 5 minutes, the report added.
A truck used to vacuum up sewage was called to the scene, the report continued. With the expectation that the truck could recover the effluent from the ditch, the report added, no sampling of the water was necessary.
However, notifications of surrounding property owners and managers was underway, the report indicated, and cleanup had begun, “per protocol.”
The report also said that the county facility with which the sewage spill was associated was located at 7905 McIntosh Road. That address is the site of the Central County Water Reclamation Facility, which stands on part of Palmer Ranch.
During a July presentation to the County Commission, Mike Mylett, director of the county’s Public Utilities Department, discussed the timeline for the coming months involving the plans to upgrade the Central County facility to Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) status.
Because of a history of sewage spills that led to a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit, which the County Commission agreed to settle in the late summer of 2019, and a Consent Order with FDEP — which the commission approved in August 2019 — staff has been working to improve numerous facets of its sewage treatment process. The primary goal is to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous going into county waterways, as those nutrients can help fuel red tide blooms.
Over the past several months, Sarasota and other counties in Southwest Florida have been battling a red tide bloom.