About 5,000 gallons of raw sewage spills in Deer Creek neighborhood of Palmer Ranch

Pump problem at master lift station results in incident, county staff reports

The red balloon marks the site of the July 5 sewage spill in a Palmer Ranch neighborhood. Image from Google Maps

Because of a pump problem involving a master lift station associated with Sarasota County’s Central County Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) on Palmer Ranch, approximately 5,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled from a manhole on Shadow Pine Way on July 5, Sarasota County Public Utilities staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

A county crew was able to recover about 17,300 gallons of combined wastewater and stormwater, the FDEP report said.

Crews responded to a call about the effluent coming out of a manhole in the Deer Creek neighborhood of Palmer Ranch, the report explains. Public Utilities staff traced the cause of the spill to the master lift station, where they discovered that “the pumps were not operating at a capacity sufficient” to clear out the collection system. “Staff manually operated the pumps to evacuate the collection system and the spill ceased,” the report noted.

The manhole is located at 8295 Shadow Pine Way on Palmer Ranch, the report added. The spill began at 11:30 a.m. on July 5, the report continued; the situation was resolved by 1:30 p.m.

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.

During a staff investigation of the incident, the FDEP report noted, county employees learned that a surge protector in the pump control system had failed. Staff installed “a temporary fix and are scheduling permanent repairs,” the report said.

This is the FDEP graphic showing the spill location. Image courtesy FDEP

Notifications of surrounding property owners and residents, along with the clean-up of the area, were proceeding per county protocol, the report pointed out. Sampling of nearby water bodies would be required, as they were affected, the report added.