About 5,000 gallons of sewage spilled in area of county lift station just off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard

Pump malfunction found to be the cause

On Sept. 17 a pump problem at Sarasota County’s Wendell Kent Master Lift Station, near Nathan Benderson Park, resulted in approximately 5,000 gallons of sewage being spilled on the surrounding grounds, county Public Utilities Department has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

A pumper truck called to the scene was able to vacuum out the affected ditch, recovering about 16,000 gallons of rainwater and sewage, staff noted. No surface waters were involved, the report added, so no water sampling measures were necessary.

Lime was applied to the area where the spill occurred, the report pointed out.

Clean-up and notifications were proceeding according to county protocol, the report said.

The lift station is just east of Interstate 75, off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

As High Tide Technologies explains, “A wastewater lift station is a pumping station that moves wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. The benefit of using a lift station in a sewage collection system is that it saves a substantial amount of money in excavation costs, which involves digging for sewer pipes. Sewer pipes live underground, and digging trenches is costly. Installing a wastewater lift station at certain points in a gravity pipeline system saves on front-end construction costs without sacrificing efficiency or functionality. They play an integral role in moving sewage to a wastewater treatment plant.”

The Wendell Kent Lift Station incident began about 8 p.m. on Sept. 17, the FDEP report noted. Following heavy rainfall, the report explained, Public Utilities staff received an alarm at the lift station. When workers arrived on the site, they found that a fault had occurred with Pump No. 1, the report said. They reset it, the report added, but the pump continued to malfunction.

Finally, the report said, the workers called in other county staff members, who were able to figure out the source of the problem; it involved a grease mat.

The closest county rainfall gauge to the lift station — located in The Meadows, west of Honore Avenue — showed that, over the seven days through Sept. 18, 4.26 inches of rain had fallen.

Workers were able to resolve the problems by 10 p.m. on Sept. 17, the report pointed out.

The Wendell Kent Lift Station is part of the infrastructure associated with the county’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility, which stands at 5550 Lorraine Road, the report noted.