BRADENTON -- About 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage escaped from a broken pipe during a smelly episode last month, a city official confirmed Wednesday.
On the morning of June 14, a 30-inch pipe fractured, sending a flood of sewage into the area around the city’s wastewater plant and through storm drains to the Manatee River.
It took 13 hours of emergency repairs, but the city did get the pipe repaired. It is now functioning correctly, said Claude Tankersley, director of the city of Bradenton Public Works & Utilities Department.
“We’re not sure what happened, and we probably never will be,” he said. “The system broke, and it’s repaired; we’re all up and running again as it should be.”
The pipe erupted at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, about a mile from a storm drain near Rossi Waterfront Park where the raw sewage poured into the Manatee River.
The river was temporarily off-limits to recreational activity, like fishing or swimming, but the incident caused no permanent damage to the environment, said Tim McCann, Bradenton’s public information officer.
“The pipe broke, and they still don’t know why, and probably won’t know why unless they decide to spend a ton of money to determine the cause,” McCann said. He would not say how much it cost to repair the pipe.
The pipe carries sewage into the wastewater plant at 1710 First St. W., Bradenton. The plant takes in about 5 million gallons of sewage daily, and turns it all into non-potable waste water for lawn watering and other purposes.
A new ductile iron pipe was installed with a protective lining inside to prevent corrosion, Tankersley said.
The river, which bore a nasty, smelly plume the day of the spill, was back to normal within 24 hours, according to information provided by the city.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.