Neighbors of current sewage station also frustrated

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:01 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tucked away on a quiet street near Bahia Vista between Osprey and Orange is what some may call a ticking time bomb.

There, behind a non-descript fence in this suburban neighborhood is a facility that handles about a third of the city's sewage.

Richard Shaffett lived here when it was built 40 years ago, and says he's seen it all...and smelled it all..

"It's a rotten egg smell that permeates the neighborhood," he says.

Problems here ten years ago caused half a million gallons of raw sewage to be released into the nearby Hudson Bayou.

The city voted for a new high-tech sewage station here--but nearly a decade later and $15 million dollars over budget, it's nearly back to square one.

Meantime, some say this already antiquated Pomelo Avenue lift station could be on the brink of another disaster.

"Lift station #7 is near failure. Every time we get a heavy rain, that lift station has to be pumped with pumper trucks and it's basically being held together by wire," said Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman.

City Manager Tom Barwin says the city is doing all it can to keep it operating effectively.

"There are regular inspections of this lift station," Barwin said.

Barwin says the new lift station should be done within two years--but some neighbors just don't buy it.

"We have no hope as to when, the city has jerked us around so many times, we don't believe what they say," Shaffett said.

Once complete, the city plans to decommission the Pomelo Avenue Lift Station and restore it to a park-like setting.

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