A sewer spill that released about 2,000 gallons of sewage into Ware’s Creek almost two weeks ago has been resolved, but the cause remains a mystery, according to Bradenton Public Works Director Jim McLellan.
“We never actually saw what it was,” McLellan said. “Essentially we were flushing the lines under the surcharged conditions, meaning our hoses were pushed into the sewer lines through manholes that were holding water and thus our hoses were fully submerged. When the blockage was released by the flushing, it too was under water and thus never seen.”
McLellan said the city is currently in the process of trying to video the lines after the fact to see if they can identify anything out of the ordinary that may have contributed to the blockage. McLellan said whatever the blockage was had been cleared on Oct. 7.
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The leak began on Oct. 4 and city crews responded to pump the system, but sewage began leaking from the manhole in the 2800 block of 22nd Avenue West later that evening and continued to spill for about 20 hours. Crews initially tried to sandbag the leak to contain it, but the roadway began to flood spilling the sewage into nearby catch basins, which lead into the creek.
Two homeowners were affected by the sewage when crews had to remove the sandbags.
“We had the whole system drained,” McLellan said. “From 18th Avenue West to 34th was being surcharged because of this blockage. We are in the process of cleaning the rest of that system.”
On Thursday, he said no changes have been made regarding the spill estimates. The incident was reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as required by new regulations.
“There has been no formal response from FDEP, but we are continuing to sample the creek and provide the information to the department,” McLellan said.
In comparison, Bradenton’s last major sewage mishap was in 2011 when a 30-inch sewer pipe fractured and sent 3.5 million gallons of raw sewage into the roadways around the city’s wastewater plant and eventually into the Manatee River.