Crew working on Ocean Boulevard/Higel Avenue drainage project damages sewer pipeline, leading to spill of about 2,000 gallons of sewage

County staff recovers approximately 1,700 gallons

This map shows the location of the June 29 sewage spill. Image courtesy FDEP

On June 29, employees of Gator Grading and Paving LLC of Palmetto, working on the Higel Avenue/Ocean Boulevard drainage project on north Siesta Key, damaged an existing 6-inch sewer force main, leading to the spill of about 2,000 gallons of sewage, Sarasota County staff has reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Crew members were installing a new stormwater pipe in front of the house at 4566 Higel Ave. when the incident occurred about 8:40 a.m., the report said.

The spilled sewage was contained within the excavation area where the Gator Grading employees had been working, the report says. County staff used a vacuum truck to recover approximately 1,700 gallons of the effluent from the site, the report adds.

“No water bodies were impacted,” the report continues, so no water sampling is required. The clean-up of the area and notifications to surrounding property owners were being completed according to county protocol, the report noted.
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, “Force mains are pipelines that convey wastewater under pressure from the discharge side of a pump or pneumatic ejector to a discharge point.”

County staff completed its work at the site by 9:15 a.m. on June 29, the report noted

As The Sarasota News Leader has explained, Gator Grading and Paving has been installing new pipelines and other structures along Ocean Boulevard and Higel Avenue as part of a project designed to improve drainage in that area.

This is the project description. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The work moved from Ocean Boulevard to Higel Avenue this week.

On June 26, equipment is located in front of the house standing at 4576 Higel Ave., at the intersection of Reid Street and Higel. That house is just south of the house where the sewage spill occurred. A sump pump is drawing water from below the ground and depositing it into a trench. A dam appears to have been created to prevent the water from flowing toward the corner at Reid Street. Contributed photo
This aerial map shows the property at 4566 Higel Ave. outlined in purple. The property at 4576 Higel Ave. is just to the south, at the Reid Street intersection. Image courtesy Property Appraiser Bill Furst

Although the undertaking originally was expected to be completed in August, county staff last week announced that it likely would be fall — late September — before the project is finished.

Updates on the initiative are available on the county webpages under the heading of Projects in My Neighborhood.