Malfunctioning air release valve results in 6,000 gallons of sewage spilling on street in The Oaks in Osprey

County staff recovers the effluent; no surface waters affected

 On Saturday, June 24, Sarasota County Public Utilities Department crews found that approximately 6,000 gallons of sewage had been discharged onto the ground after an air release valve (ARV) suffered a mechanical failure at 301 Macewan Drive in The Oaks Club, near Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, staff advised the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Staff was able to isolate the ARV and will schedule the necessary repairs, according to a report filed with FDEP.

The crews were able to recover almost all of the sewage from the affected area, the report added. They also were undertaking the clean-up of the ground and providing notifications to owners and residents of nearby property, per county protocol, the report noted. No surface waters were affected, the report pointed out.

The incident began about 4 p.m. on June 24 and was not resolved until 8 p.m. that day, the report said.

As a Crane Engineering blog 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.”

The ARV in the June 24 incident is associated with the Central County Water Reclamation Facility, which is located on Palmer Ranch in Sarasota.