About 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spill on grounds around Wendell Kent Lift Station near I-75 and Benderson Park

County staff recovers approximately 22,000 gallons, with no impact on surface waters

Because of an April 10 mechanical failure, Sarasota County’s Wendell Kent Lift Station, which is located off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, east of Nathan Benderson Park and Interstate 75, spilled approximately 37,000 gallons of raw sewage on the surrounding grounds, county staff reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

County workers were able to recover about 22,000 gallons of the sewage from the site, the report added. No surface waters were affected, the report said, so no sampling was required. Clean-up and notifications to surrounding property owners were proceeding according to county protocol, the report pointed out.

The incident began at 7:50 a.m. on April 10; county staff was able to resolve the problem by 8:30 a.m., the report said.

A contractor called county staff to report the spill, the report explained.

The mechanical failure involved a piece of equipment that keeps the “wet well” of the lift station from overflowing, the report continued. Therefore, the station pumps had received no signal to begin operating. The county crew switched the pumps to manual mode to stop the spill, the report said.

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, “Wastewater lift stations are facilities designed to move wastewater from lower to higher elevation through pipes. Key elements of lift stations include a wastewater receiving well (wet-well), often equipped with a screen or grinding to remove coarse materials; pumps and piping with associated valves; motors; a power supply system; an equipment control and alarm system; and an odor control system and ventilation system.”

Following the repairs, cleaning and testing, the report noted, the station was able to return to service.

The lift station is part of the infrastructure associated with the county’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility, which stands at 5550 Lorraine Road in the eastern part of the county.

The lift station has been the scene of equipment problems in the past, as The Sarasota News Leader has reported. Therefore, county staff has been soliciting bids for the first phase of rehabilitation of the facility. Bids were due at 2:30 p.m. on April 12.

The summary of work in that solicitation includes the following:

  • Installation of multiple bypass pumping systems, including portable tanks, line stops, bypass piping, and permanent bypass access points.
  • Demolition of the existing wet well lid, baffle, manhole, existing piping and concrete pads.
  • Wet well rehabilitation, including rehabilitation and repair of existing wet well walls and floor and reinstallation of existing pumps.
  • Installation of a new discharge flow meter, pressure indication, bypass piping assembly and concrete pad.
  • Installation of a new diesel backup pump system, site lighting, and improvements inside and outside existing control building.