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Hurricane Ian Causes Release of Wastewater into Manatee River

BRADENTON –During Hurricane Ian, power outages and other system failures caused more than 13 million gallons of partially treated sewage to be released into local waterways.

According to FDEP reports, a treatment plant at 1810 1st Street West became hydraulically overloaded due to heavy rain from Hurricane Ian. The filters became blinded and the plant had to be bypassed. A total of 13 million gallons of partially treated wastewater were released into the Manatee River.

On the evening of September 28, the Manatee County North wastewater service area experienced multiple sanitary sewer overflow events of undetermined sizes and durations due to excessive rainfall and wind associated with hurricane Ian.

The hurricane caused numerous lift station failures due to power loss from power grid infrastructure destruction and introduced stormwater into the sanitary sewer system. Some of the raw wastewater discharged from these SSO events certainly entered the waters of the state, but due to the storm's widespread impact on the collection system, the SSO event volume and ultimate destination are unable to be accurately determined although a volume of greater than 1,000 gallons is estimated.

Due to continuing widespread power outages, staff concentrated on maintaining the operation of the wastewater infrastructure using emergency equipment. As of 10/6/22, wastewater operations staff were continuing to maintain some infrastructure using emergency equipment due to continued power outages, but all noted SSO events associated with hurricane Ian had stopped.


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