Sewage Pipe burst in Southern Florida
Friday, September 2, 2011
By Jamie Rodgers- Emerald Coastkeeper
Earlier this month on Monday August 15th off of Greenbriar Blvd. a 12" Force Main pipe leading to the Central Water Reclamation Facility of ECUA busted, expelling 1.4 million gallons of untreated sewage into the wetlands by Thompson Bayou just behind the Scenic Hills Golf Course on HWY 90. The same incident was previously reported on June 22nd in that general area expelling 2.2 million gallons of untreated sewage. Tankers were used at that time to transport the wastewater into an additional lift station as a clean-up effort. The second time, they were able to respond much faster and emergency crews and tanker trucks were immediately dispatched to the affected site to help contain the spill.
Thompson Bayou and the surrounding areas were put on health alert as a precaution due to the levels of bacteria released into the environment. I watched a video released by students of UWF after the first pipe busted and they showed footage of fish floating belly up from the bacteria contamination. This bayou, along with the Edward Ball Nature Trail on adjacent land, is used by students of UWF for their Outdoor Recreation programs and they often go kayaking in this water- which flows directly into the Escambia River.
As of that morning a temporary by-pass line was completed and the discharge was stopped. The by-pass will stay in use until the main is replaced permanently. ECUA has been very cooperative and has working hard to fix the problem. I have been informed that the engineers for ECUA are currently looking into replacing that line with a pipe made of HDPE, High-Density Polyurethane. It is an on-going, welded pipe with no joints or connectors, so there would be fewer opportunities for “weak spots” in the line.
Test results came back after just a few days showing bacteria levels falling back to normal, and the following Monday the advisory was lifted.