About 2,500 gallons of raw sewage spilled on South Packinghouse Road after worker runs over pipeline

Contractor widening road and working on related improvements in the area

An employee of a contractor working on South Packinghouse Road in Sarasota County ran over a 2-inch, low-pressure sewer force main last week, leading to the spill of about 2,500 gallons of raw sewage onto the road, Sarasota County Public Utilities Department staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Workers were able to recover about 1,700 gallons of sewage from the roadway, the report continued. “No water bodies were affected,” the report said, so no sampling was necessary. Clean-up proceeded according to county protocol, the report noted.

The incident, which occurred at approximately 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 8, was reported at 6025 S. Packinghouse Road. The contractor shut down the upstream sewage lift station “to prevent further damage,’ the report added, and then “contacted the appropriate authorities.”

The site is just north of the Palmer Road intersection with South Packinghouse Road, which is east of Cattlemen Road, to which it runs parallel. Packinghouse Road is west of Interstate 75.

Additionally, the report said, contractors were mobilized to haul wastewater from the affected lift station. Repairs were made to the valve that was damaged, the report added, “and the low-pressure system was returned to service.”

A sewer force main, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, is a pipeline that conveys wastewater under pressure from a lower to a higher elevation, “particularly where the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow and/or the use of gravity conveyance will result in excessive excavation depths and high sewer pipeline construction costs.”

Crews wrapped up their work at the South Packinghouse Road scene by 1:45 p.m., the report noted.

As Sarasota County’s Capital Projects Department staff explains in its One Week Look Ahead report for the period of Feb. 13-19, Cattlemen Road is being widened to four lanes from 600 feet north of Bahia Vista Street to Packinghouse Road, including the intersection at Palmer Boulevard …” The project also includes the reconstruction of South Packinghouse Road from south of Palmer Boulevard to Cattlemen Road. Further, the report points out, the project includes new traffic signalization, the construction of sidewalks, installation of a water main pipeline, “and sanitary sewer improvements.”

Staff anticipates the project to be completed in April, that report notes.