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Water-Related News

Siesta residents eager to see changes after sewage spill

A July pump failure caused 36,000 gallons of raw sewage to be dumped in Grand Canal.

A spill that left 36,000 gallons of raw sewage in Siesta Key’s Grand Canal left residents questioning the effectiveness of the county’s pump stations and the use of emergency-alert systems.

At 4:30 p.m. July 9, the Lockwood Ridge Booster Station failed, which caused untreated wastewater to spill into the Grand Canal. Around 14,700 gallons were recovered, and lime was spread in the vicinity of the station to help mitigate the effects of the spill, near 5200 Oakmont Place.

The pump station, which opened in 2017 after the county was ordered to shut down its wastewater treatment facility on Siesta Key, utilizes a large transmission main to transport sewage to the mainland for treatment.

During high-flow conditions, as was the case July 9, a booster pump on the transmission main activates automatically to help keep the flow moving, county spokesman Drew Winchester said. However, the starter motor on the diesel engine that powers the pump failed. While the pump was being repaired, sewage in the Master Pump Station spilled into the canal, something residents of Siesta Isles say they never want to see happen again.