Water had been fully treated and disinfected, city staff says
During the heavy rains in Sarasota on the night of Oct. 3, a 36-inch City of Sarasota discharge pipe temporarily malfunctioned, leading to the runoff of about 124,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Whitaker Bayou, the city announced.
The water had been fully treated, disinfected and dechlorinated, Jan Thornburg, the city’s senior communications manager, reported in a press release.
The water exited from a broken fitting into a road catch basin at the intersection of 18th Street and U.S. 41 and then drained into the bayou as normal runoff, she wrote. “The City of Sarasota is legally permitted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection [FDEP] to discharge this water into Whitaker Bayou and has done so for years,” Thornburg noted. The water “poses no public health risk,” she added. Furthermore, she pointed out, “The affected area was cleaned and repaired.”
Typically, reclaimed water is sold or discharged into the deep injection well on the Utilities Department campus on 12th Street, Thornburg explained. Because of the recent heavy rains, the injection well was at capacity, she noted; therefore, the city activated its FDEP permit to legally discharge the water into Whitaker Bayou.
Before the final outfall, some of the treated water drained through the stormwater system, she added.
The City of Sarasota has filed the necessary reports with FDEP and other agencies, Thornburg wrote. The FDEP document says, “The valve on the Bay discharge line was repaired.”