During Hurricane Ian’s unwelcome visit to Manatee County, the City of Bradenton, along with other governmental entities, was forced to release partially treated wastewater into the Manatee River. This is a problem that is encountered during weather events that cause excessive rainfall.
The City of Bradenton has many miles of old clay sewer pipes that allow water intrusion during periods of heavy rainfall. This excess mixture of sewage and storm water ends up at the city wastewater treatment facility. As the water flows towards the treatment facility, additional water intrusion occurs through the manhole covers along the route.
The City of Bradenton wastewater treatment facility does not have enough settling tank capacity to handle the excess flow that occurs because of the rainwater intrusion. The City is working towards increasing the capacity of the plant to avoid future releases.
Recently, the City of Bradenton borrowed $10,000,000 through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). These funds will be used to construct additional settling tank capacity at the wastewater treatment plant. Once the work is completed, the plant should be able to handle 75% more inflows. The funds are also being used to place linings inside the old clay pipes and to place linings inside the manhole covers. This will prevent the rainwater from entering the sewage pipes and reduce the inflows to the treatment facility.
This additional investment should eliminate future sewage releases according to Jim McLellan, Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Bradenton.
Gene Brown, Mayor of Bradenton, said the FDEP fund allows governments to borrow at reasonable rates and invest in needed infrastructure upgrades that protect the environment. Brown hopes that after the project is completed, sewage releases will be a distant memory.