About 6,500 gallons of raw sewage spills into Newtown excavation site where replacement of county pipelines has been underway

No water bodies affected, county staff reports

 On March 1, during the installation of new sewer force mains along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Sarasota, the contractor damaged the existing 10-inch force main, resulting in the spill of approximately 6,500 gallons of raw sewage, county staff reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The sewage flowed into the excavation site, located at 2470 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the report said; county vacuum trucks were able to recover it.

The site is southeast of Newtown Estates Park, near the 25th Street intersection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, a map shows.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, a sewer force main is a pipeline that conveys wastewater 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 costs.”

The contractor was able to repair the existing force main and put it back into operation, the report noted.

“No water bodies were impacted,” the report said, so no water sampling was required. Cleanup of the spill site and notifications to nearby property owners and residents were proceeding according to county protocol, the report added.

The incident began about 9 a.m. on March 1, the report noted. The problems were resolved by 10 a.m., it said.

The sewer force main that was damaged is part of the infrastructure in the county’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility service area. The Bee Ridge plant, standing on Lorraine Road, is the county’s largest wastewater treatment facility.

A county Capital Projects Department fact sheet about the sewer force main project along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way explains that, in the recent past, the 12-inch force main experienced problems related to the pressure needed to maintain service in the area. The separate, 10-inch force main along the same route is “in need of material upgrades,” the fact sheet added. Both lines are being replaced along a 2,700-linear-foot segment of the street, from the county’s 27th Street Lift Station to Tuttle Avenue.

The contractor is DeJonge Excavating Contractors Inc., the fact sheet noted. The company is located in Venice.

The construction contract totaled $1,990,424.10, the fact sheet pointed out.

The project is expected to be completed this fall.