FL - Latest Leesburg sewage spill prompts call for investigation

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FL - Latest Leesburg sewage spill prompts call for investigation

By Monica Scott | Sentinel Staff Writer Posted August 17, 2001

LEESBURG -- City Commissioner Bob Lovell has called for an investigation into the city’s 99 wastewater-collection systems.

The move comes after a weekend sewage spill, the third this year.

"My concern is we are continuing to have various problems," Lovell said. "I want to know what is going on, because every time we turn around, there is a leak or spill. I want to know what shape these systems are in, why we are having problems, and what needs to be done to prevent this from happening again."

City Manager Ron Stock announced Thursday that EMA Inc. of Longwood would provide emergency consulting services. The company will be paid $24,000 to evaluate the lift stations during a four-week period beginning Aug. 24.

City officials said 11,000 gallons of sewage leaked from a broken pipe Sunday near Lake Harris in the Love’s Point area. City officials said it did not get into the lake or a nearby canal. Earlier this month, there was another spill at a lift station on the south side of town that officials blamed on lightning knocking out a generator.

The two incidents, coupled with an April malfunction at the Canal Street Wastewater Treatment Plant that dumped 22,500 gallons of raw sewage into Lake Griffin, have raised questions.

"I need to determine whether we really have a problem or if we have had a string of bad luck," Stock said. "We believe they [EMA] can truly provide us with an independent, third-party look at this issue."

Earlier this month, the Department of Environmental Protection fined the city $6,250 for the Lake Griffin spill. The city had already budgeted $960,000 for work at the Canal Street plant and is in the process of hiring a company for the work. Work is expected to start this fall and be completed in December 2002.

Stock said the city is in the fourth year of an eight-year plan to upgrade wastewater facilities. The city has two plants with a capacity of 6.5 million gallons per day. The new $8.5 million Turnpike plant became operational last year.

The final phase of the plan is to install a system that would provide minute-by-minute reporting to a central station of all system operations and would immediately notify plant operators of any problem.


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), August 17, 2001

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