Approximately 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spills during two incidents near Phillippi Creek in Sarasota

County crews recover only about 7,000 gallons of effluent

Two related incidents resulted in about 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spilling near Phillippi Creek in Sarasota, the county’s Public Utilities Department staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The larger spill — 25,000 gallons — began about 10:30 p.m. on June 19 and involved a broken air release valve (ARV) at 2491 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, the report noted. That incident was related to a situation that staff learned of at 6:45 p.m. the same day; it occurred at the intersection of Linwood Street and Vinson Avenue.

The crew was able to recover only about 4,000 gallons of the effluent in the South Lockwood Road incident; the sewage had spilled onto the adjacent grass right of way and into nearby stormwater structures, the report noted. Phillippi Creek was affected, the report continued, so water sampling was required, and clean-up and notifications of surrounding property owners and residents were proceeding according to county protocol.

That situation was not resolved until 5:45 a.m. on June 20, the report pointed out.

The South Lockwood Road site is north of Webber Street and east of Phillippi Creek and Tanglewood Drive. It is mostly southwest of the Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes.

In a blog, Crane Engineering explains, “Air release valves are installed at the highest points in a pipeline where air naturally collects. Air bubbles enter the valve and displace the liquid inside, lowering the liquid level. When the level drops to where it no longer buoys the float, the float drops. This motion pulls the seat away from the orifice, triggering the valve to open and vent the accumulated air into the atmosphere. As the air is vented, liquid re-enters the valve, once again buoying the float, lifting it until the seat presses against the orifice, closing the valve. This cycle automatically repeats as often as necessary to maintain an air-free system.”

In the earlier incident on June 19, lift station crews responded to an alert at 6:45 p.m. about a manhole overflowing at the intersection of Linwood Street and Vinson Avenue, that report said. During their investigation, the report added, crews discovered a failed gravity main pipeline. “Teams were able to stop the spill by installing a bypass system,” the report said; they utilized tanker trucks to collect the sewage.

“Approximately 12,400 gallons of raw sewage spilled into adjacent roadways and [into stormwater] structures,” the report pointed out. Crews were able to recover about 3,000 gallons.

Again, Phillippi Creek was affected, the report said, so, water sampling was necessary. Clean-up of the area and notifications to owners and residents of adjacent property were proceeding per protocol, the report noted.

The issues were resolved at midnight that day, the report said.

That incident site is west of Phillippi Creek and east of McIntosh Road, in the Sarasota Springs community.

Trenchlesspedia explains, “A gravity sewer is an underground piping system which is sloped downwards away from the source and towards the destination. The product which flows through the pipes is geared by the force of gravity; there are no pumps or pressurized components in the system. Most sewage and storm water sewer systems were installed originally as gravity sewers, although pressurized systems are becoming more common.”

The failed pipeline segment will have to be replaced, the report said. Nonetheless, the report pointed out, “All services were restored to all impacted areas.”

The structures involved in both incidents are part of the county’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility’s system, the reports said. That plant stands at 5550 Lorraine Road in Sarasota.