County recovers 791,200 gallons of sewage, with multiple spills caused by Hurricane Ian

Staff notifies FDEP of situation

Because of Hurricane Ian’s heavy rains, high winds and widespread power outages, Sarasota County Public Utilities Department staff has informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that crews had to respond to “multiple reports of sanitary sewer spills” in the county’s service area.

An “unknown amount [of sewage] was discharged,” the Oct. 9 report added; staff recovered 791,200 gallons. Clean-up efforts and notifications were proceeding according to protocol, the report said.

The county staff works to ensure that adjacent property owners are aware of such spills.

“Post-storm assessments have been conducted on all County Lift Stations except for the Snook Haven station,” the report pointed out. The Snook Haven station remained inaccessible because of elevated floodwaters, the report noted.

Snook Haven Park and Waterfront Restaurant is located at 5000 E. Venice Ave. in Venice. It is adjacent to the Myakka River, which exceeded its flood stage because of Hurricane Ian’s rainfall, as other publications have reported.

On Sept. 30, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the Myakka River at Myakka River State Park was expected to crest at 12.7 feet at 8 a.m. the following day, a level that would be 2 feet above major flood stage, according to Rodney Wynn, a National Weather forecaster in Ruskin. At 8 a.m. on Sept. 30, the article added, the river already was at 12.3 feet.

A National Weather Service advisory issued at 10:04 a.m. on Oct. 10 noted that a Flood Warning had been extended for the Myakka River at Myakka River State Park, “affecting Sarasota County.” That advisory added that only moderate flooding had been forecast that day for the Myakka.

The sewage spills involved infrastructure associated with all three of the county’s primary treatment plants, the report said: the Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) on Lorraine Road in Sarasota; the Central County WRF, which is located on Palmer Ranch; and the Venice Gardens WRF, which stands at 375 Venice East Blvd.