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Date of Issue: December 24, 2008

Wastewater work ongoing at public beach

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A sign at Manatee Public Beach provides notice of the ongoing work to rehabilitate a wastewater lift station at the location. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Construction crews continued to work last week at Manatee Public Beach on the wastewater equipment housed in the Manatee Public Beach parking lot.

The Manatee County Utilities Department is in the process of rehabilitating lift stations in the area, including the master lift station at the beach at Gulf Drive and Manatee Avenue in Holmes Beach.

The county’s wastewater program involves maintenance of 1,165 miles of collection lines served by more than 547 lift stations that move wastewater to one of three plants. These plants treat about 21.4 million gallons of wastewater each day.

The lift station at the beach controls the wastewater flow from Island customers, said Amy Merrill, a spokesperson with the county utilities department.

“The station handles the wastewater from toilets and showers and such,” she said. “It pulls water into a certain direction.”

The work at the beach lift station involves “replacing all of the components inside the structure — valves, pumps, electronics, and emergency power generator. This equipment is over 30 years old and repair parts are no longer available,” said Jim Marble, lift station section superintendent.

In addition to increasing the reliablilty of the equipment, the new pumps and controls should result in significant energy savings for the facility, according to Marble.

The beach project should be completed by next summer.

Next year, and through 2010, the county also will rehabilitate 10 local satellite lift stations with new fiberglass, piping and valves.

In addition to the beach station, rehab work will take place for the next two years will take place at a station in the 100 block of Sixth Street South in Bradenton Beach and in the 500 block of Magnolia Avenue, 800 block of South Bay Boulevard, 600 block of Jacaranda Boulevard and 400 block of North Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria. In Holmes Beach, work will take place at stations in the 4000 block of Gulf Drive, in the 5000 and 7000 blocks of Marina Drive, 6000 block of Holmes Boulevard and 600 block of Key Royale Drive.

The county evaluates the lift stations every year to identify where work is needed.

“The wastewater is corrosive and damages the concrete surfaces inside the wet well, where it accumulates until it is pumped,” Marble said.

“The pumps inside the wet well, which do the actual pumping of the wastewater, are replaced an average of every seven years in the satellite lift stations and every 20-30 years in the master lift stations,” he added.

County officials do not expect the work at the stations to disrupt service on the Island.