Thousands of gallons of wastewater spill into a Siesta Key Canal

Sewage spill on Siesta Key

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB) - “Very major disappointment,” said Bob Luckner.

That’s how Luckner and so many others are feeling after around 36,000 gallons of sewage ended up in the Grand Canal on Siesta Key Tuesday afternoon. Luckner not only lives near the canal but he’s also an expert in the field of wastewater.

“I don’t think it looks like it caused any fish kills. I can’t imagine there wasn’t a smell yesterday afternoon, doesn’t seem to be one now," said Luckner. "And the good news is they reported it promptly.”

Sarasota County says the Lockwood Ridge booster station had failed, causing the untreated wastewater to spill from the Siesta Key Master Lift Station. That treatment facility has had a history of sewage spills and was decommissioned with only the master lift station there placed in service. It will be demolished in the near future.

“It’s unwanted news; it’s disturbing to hear that there’s yet another spill in Sarasota County. I would expect more,” said Justin Bloom, Founder of Suncoast Waterkeeper.

County officials say about 15,000 gallons of the released sewage has been recovered and lime was used to help with the cleanup. The Department of Health issued a health advisory urging residents and visitors to take precautions when in contact with the waters of the Grand Canal. Water contaminated with wastewater can cause some health issues.

“There are pathogens, there’s bacteria, there are nasty bugs that can cause illness in humans, but there are also impacts to the aquatic environment,” said Bloom.

The Florida Department of Health says water testing at this location will continue until bacteria levels get back to normal.

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