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HomeLocal & StateCity council approves emergency funding for wastewater system repairs

City council approves emergency funding for wastewater system repairs

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On Oct. 17, 2022, The Brooksville City Council unanimously approved an emergency declaration Resolution (2022-21) to allow the City Manager and Mayor to authorize and expedite funding repairs
to the city’s water and sewer infrastructure. The measure will fast-track repair funding up to $500,000 using the Enterprise Reserve Fund. There is currently $8,000,000 in this fund.

Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Paul Booth asked the council to effectively declare a State of Emergency of the city’s wastewater collection and treatment systems, based on the severity of recent failures, and subsequent findings during the remedies.

“Over the years, we’ve experienced a series of failures, each one in and of itself was a minor failure. For whatever reason, these failures were addressed through “Band-Aid” repairs. Through that approach, we’ve reached a point that we are getting very near to critical failure stages.”

Booth first presented the case of the recent Master Lift Station failure that occurred in July on the north side of Cortez Blvd, just west of Broad Street / Hwy 41. The failure resulted in 250,000 gallons of raw sewage spill. The Lift Station is currently operating normally. However, Booth advised that during the replacement of the pumps that failed on the Lift Stations, it was discovered that pipes within have pinholes, which could ultimately damage the new pumps.

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Booth requested emergency rehabilitation of the structure prior to complete rehabilitation. “Within a few months, we’re going to see another failure (at the Master Lift Station).”

Several problems at the main William Smith Treatment Plant have been repaired with short-term solutions. Issues exist with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) which regulate the power to electric motors, which control the speed of the pumps. Over the past few years. VFDs have failed and have been replaced at the lowest cost, resulting in mismatched systems. Booth said that six different computers and operating systems are required to operate the current configuration, rather than a single operating system.

Booth reported that last week, a sludge pump literally “blew apart” after becoming clogged. It will need to be replaced.

“Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point at the plant that we are getting very close to having major failures that are going to cause overflows and major problems for us if we do not respond very, very quickly… within the next three to six months.”

“Our normal purchasing protocols make that timeline very difficult to meet. By the time we pull together a scope of services, get that out for bid, go through a review, get those bids back in, review it, get it back to Council, oftentimes, it’s as much as 90 days to get to that point.”

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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