Sarasota News Leader

04/25/2014

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Garland told The Sarasota News Leader on April 14 he suspected the original structure might need to be abandoned and a new wet well built because it has to be 13 feet deeper. That could add $6.5 million to the project. "This is a significant rebuild," said Mitt Tidwell, the city utilities director, on Monday. He was joined at the presentation by city Project Manager Steve Topovski. The original design called for the facility — four structures for pumps, emergency generators, electrical switchgear and odor control equipment — to be hidden from sight underground. Commissioner Paul Caragiulo asked the three engineers, "Have you ever seen a facility like this?" All three said, "No." In the meantime, the old Lift Station 7 on Pomelo Avenue continues to handle about one-third of the city's sewage, despite a history of failures and spills. Twice it has sent 500,000 gallons into Hudson Bayou. Neighbors have been waiting for years for Lift Station 87 to replace it. Ellen Miller lives next to Lift Station 7. "It failed in 2004," she said Monday night. "It was to be decommissioned in 2010, then 2013. Now it's May 2016. I'm asking for a moratorium on new building permits until [Lift Station] 87 is completed. Think of all the construction in the past 10 years, including a new wing at Sarasota Memorial Hospital." Richard Shaffett lives on Pomelo, too. "When will this insanity end?" he asked. "It's a tick- ing time bomb right in our front yards. It's a black-hole boondoggle." By Garland's estimate, Lift Station 87 will be ready to operate in June 2015. Demolition of Lift Station 7 would begin in November of that year and be finished by January 2016. SWAP HORSES? Commissioner Susan Chapman, formerly a neighborhood activist, forced the city to admit the spills at Lift Station 7 had taken place, and then she forced the city to admit it did not even own the land under the facil- ity. She made the case to decommission the Three engineers explain to the City Commission on April 21 why the project doubled in price: (from left) City Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell, City Project Director Steve Topovski and consulting engineer Robert Garland. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader April 25, 2014 Page 19

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