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Longboat Key sewage break spilled into Sarasota Bay for weeks

The pipeline carries about 2 million gallons of sewage to the mainland daily.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. — A break in a sewage line that runs underneath Sarasota Bay, servicing the town of Longboat Key, has been fixed.

The town Tuesday evening posted on Facebook its emergency contractor made the necessary repairs.

An emergency notice distributed to residents earlier in the day said the wastewater main break was situated on the mainland landing area in Manatee County -- more specifically in an area of mangroves and woodland, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reports. 

The pipeline is said to carry about 2 million gallons of raw sewage to the mainland each day. On July 1, city leaders said about 25.8 million gallons were discharged to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The amount that was actually leaked is still being quantified. 

People were asked to limit their water and wastewater use to control the amount of sewage flowing through the pipeline from the town to the Manatee County Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The department reported the town notified the agency that the spill had been ongoing since Wednesday, June 17 -- almost two weeks. 

The emergency notice sent to residents Tuesday morning said it could take several days to fix the spill; again, the town said it has been fixed.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

"Due to this emergency incident the Town urges ALL commercial, resort, and residential properties to minimize water/wastewater usage to control the amount of effluent moving through the subaqueous pipeline until the repair is completed – again, this is expected to take several days," the notice read.

Officials said the notice was "especially important" ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend and an anticipated increase of property owners and their guests.

On top of this, the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing: People were asked to follow recommended guidelines to limit COVID-19's spread, such as handwashing, but to conserve water whenever possible.

The Bradenton Herald reports the town has been discussing replacing the 4-mile sewer line, now more than 40 years old, since 2016. Inspections found the line still was in good condition, and the $20 million project was delayed.

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