The actual amount of sewage spilled in Ellenton on Tuesday is greater than initially thought. In fact, it is more than double.
While initially thought to be more than 5,000 gallons of raw sewage, the updated amount of spillage is an estimated 12,000 gallons, according to Amy Pilson, the county’s utilities spokeswoman.
“We are still awaiting lab results today,” she said in an email Wednesday. “Additional lab tests will continue to be done over the next several days to monitor the levels of contamination.”
The spill occurred at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near the northwest corner of the intersection of 60th Avenue East and U.S. 301 in Ellenton, according to the notice sent by the Florida Division of Emergency Management Tuesday afternoon.
The spill entered nearby storm drains, which flow into the Manatee River, according to the incident report.
“The discharged wastewater entered a storm drain at the intersection and flowed into a retention area on the south side of U.S. 301 N. which discharges into the Manatee River,” Karen Briden, the county’s wastewater compliance supervisor, said in an email.
The notice said the raw sewage spilled from a 48-inch force main due to contractor error, but Pilson said it was actually an 8-inch main.
The contractor, Mammoth Contractors, hit the force main while installing a pole near the northwest corner of the intersection, according to the county.
But Pilson said the accident “was not wholly the responsibility of the contractor.”
“The location of the pipes had been inadvertently mismarked by the locates crew due to the layout of the intersection not having been updated,” Pilson said. “Staff has been made aware of this error and information updated in the system.”