With 1.5 million gallons of wastewater discharged, Cortez force main break still spilling

More than one million gallons of wastewater is said to have spilled after a force main was damaged late Monday. As of Wednesday evening, the break was not fixed.

“We’re still in the process of getting the flow to stop,” Manatee County Utilities spokeswoman Amy Pilson said.

In the midst of replacing a force main on Cortez Road West and 66th Street West, a contractor struck the 41-year-old cast iron pipe around 10 p.m. Monday. The main services the west side of Bradenton, from Cortez to Anna Maria Island.

Pump trucks were dispatched to the area to divert the wastewater flow to a lift station on 44th Avenue West, but some of the runoff is expected to flow into Palma Sola Bay. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which notifies the public of pollution releases, at least 1.5 million gallons are estimated to have been released, and Pilson expects there to be more.

While the state health department has not issued a no swim advisory, having last tested the water on Monday according to the website, Pilson said there should be signs in the area to dissuade potential swimmers.

The department hopes to have the force main fixed by Thursday. Utilities services aren’t expected to be interrupted.

“We’re just working as quickly as we can,” she said.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse