Underground work completed on new Lift Station 87

Project running about 75 days behind schedule, with completion of all project facets anticipated in early 2021, City of Sarasota staff says

Images in a consultant’s report to the City Commission this summer show work on the Lift Station 87 wetwell. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

What City of Sarasota staff characterizes as the “most challenging and difficult part” of the construction of Lift Station 87 has been completed, the city announced on the morning of Aug. 29.

For more than a year, crews have been working approximately 50 feet underground to construct the concrete wetwell at the Lift Station 87 site in Luke Wood Park, a news release points out. “Progress has been hidden from view, but that will soon change. Construction of the two-story brick lift station building, overtop the wetwell, will begin within the next couple weeks,” the release adds.

When complete, the new lift station will handle a third of the city’s wastewater flow, the release notes.

The new design “ensures reliable and effective operations, even during a Category 3 hurricane,” the release adds.

“We’ve spent the past year constructing the equivalent of a five-story building underground and below sea level,” said Sarasota Utility Director Bill Riebe in the release. “Construction of the wetwell and the connection of new, micro-tunneled 36-inch gravity sewer to the wetwell piping has been technically complex.”

Crews had to excavate and demolish the old lift station structure before they could begin building the new, 50-foot-deep wetwell, the release explains. “Although we’re extremely pleased the wetwell structure and gravity sewer connection are complete, it took a little longer than anticipated,” said Riebe in the release. “The lift station structure is on budget but is about 75 days behind schedule,” he acknowledged in the release. “The city’s contractor is working hard to recover some of this time. At this point,” Riebe added in the release, “completion of the entire project is anticipated by the end of March 2021, including the removal of the existing Lift Station 7 structure and conversion of the area to a neighborhood park.”

The contractor’s updated schedule shows that Osprey Avenue from just north of the Hudson Bayou to Alta Vista Street will be closed starting in the early summer of 2020, the release says. “This closure will last approximately eight months while crews excavate and install gravity sewer mains along Alta Vista, Pomelo Avenue and Pomelo Place,” the release continues. “To maintain safe traffic flow during construction, the contractor will direct traffic to Mound Street/US 41 to avoid neighborhoods, use temporary speed bumps to deter traffic from taking shortcuts through neighborhoods, and clearly identify business access on Osprey Avenue,” the release points out.

Lift Station 87 will replace Lift Station 7, which is located at 935 Pomelo Ave. “The project is being built in phases to protect the city’s investment,” the release adds. Phase 1 (microtunnels under Hudson Bayou, Osprey Avenue and Luke Wood Park) was successfully completed in June 2017. Phase 2 (Lift station 87 wetwell, building and site landscaping) is scheduled for final completion in early fall of 2020, the release notes.

A McKim & Creed consulting firm graphic shown to the City Commission on June 8, 2015 shows the phases of the Lift Station 87 project. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Phase 3 (open-cut gravity sewer pipeline construction south of Hudson Bayou and demolition of Lift Station 7), is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2020, with completion anticipated early in 2021, the release says.

After the entire project has been completed, wastewater flow will be completely and permanently redirected from Lift Station 7 to Lift Station 87, the release adds.

For more information about the Lift Station 87 project, go to www.liftstation87.com or call the project information line at 356-8071. Interested parties also may subscribe to email updates at https://www.sarasotafl.gov/services/email-subscriptions.