Sarasota County reviewing improvements to emergency pump systems post Hurricane Idalia

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 8:50 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County officials say it could be up to 90 days before an underground electrical panel used to power emergency flood pump systems could be restored after being damaged by Hurricane Idalia.

Sarasota County Engineer Spencer Anderson said the ten pump system, completed in 2006, is so low to the ground that last week’s hurricane surge knocked out the power to the panel.

“When the system was designed there was significant demand by the community to make the system as low profile as possible, so we mounted the electrical control panels fairly close to the ground and we found out that was not a good idea,” said Anderson.

Anderson added that the long-term goal is to update and elevate the panels to help reduce chances of catastrophic malfunction.

“We are looking to raise those panels to a higher elevation to hopefully avoid a similar situation in the future,” said Anderson.

In St. Armands Circle, business owners said they hope those improvements are put in place soon as they race to repair and reopen.

“We’re replacing the floors and all the walls, so that when this happens again we won’t have to do this part again,” said The Ancient Olive Store Co-Owner Jeff Schrader.

Schrader’s store received severe flood damage as a result of Hurricane Idalia and could be closed for weeks as repairs to the building are underway.

“We’re scrambling, we have to get back in business,” said Schrader.

While the waters have gone down, the lingering affects of the flooding remain.

“We dry everything, so we put in fans, dehumidifiers, then we come back every day, we reposition the fans and dehumidifiers and check everything to make sure it’s dry,” said Frank Petrullo of Peace of Mind Services LLC, which is helping to clean and mitigate businesses damaged by Hurricane Idalia.