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Guest Column: Lift Station Construction Continues Despite Pipeline Delay

Former Sarasota Utilities Director addresses stalled lift station project then resigns.

Much work continues to take place on the Lift Station 87 project despite delays only associated with the installation of the pipeline portion of the project.

This $12.5 million (including contingencies) utility project is one of many infrastructure improvement projects planned or already under construction envisioned by the City of Sarasota Utilities Department $89 million 5-year Capital Improvement Program. The lift station itself, with major components and materials, is approximately 80 percent complete and the construction contractor is diligently working toward its completion.  

Additionally, the new pressure force main necessary to connect the new lift station to the City wastewater reclamation facility is approximately 95percent complete. Lift Station 87 will replace the existing Lift Station 7 located at 935 Pomelo Avenue.  The existing station conveys approximately 30 percent of the City’s wastewater flow to the City’s wastewater reclamation facility.  

It is being replaced because it is aging, lacks full on-site emergency power capacity, is located on land not owned by the City and has had a history of malfunctions.As mentioned, the delay in construction is attributable to one of the pipelines.  

The gravity wastewater collection lines construction portion of the project, west and south of Lift Station 87, has been designed to mitigate the impact to the local eighborhoods through the use of a construction technique referred to as microtunneling. Technical issues discovered during micro-tunneling construction impeded the progress of this portion of the project. The City has been working collaboratively with the construction team to identify the construction methodology necessary to successfully complete this project segment.  

This team includes the construction contractor, the consulting  design engineer and a third party expert in the micro-tunneling field. The team is making significant progress identifying revisions to the work elements of the project for successful completion of the gravity wastewater collection system. It is anticipated the project team will complete the development of the revised construction methodology and develop a firm schedule to complete the project within the next 30 days.  

Once construction resumes, it is anticipated that work on Osprey Avenue will be complete within four months and all construction activities including the demolition of the old Lift Station 7 within 12 months.

Before the end of the project, Osprey Avenue, Alta Vista and Pomelo Avenue will undergo a facelift and new pavement, curbs, gutters and a reclaimed water linewill be installed.During this period, the City will attempt to work collaboratively will all members of the project team to identify the best construction methodology to complete the project in a timely and financially responsible manner. 

These efforts will not eliminate the continued impact of construction felt by the local neighborhoods and travelling public, but should minimize it.  

The City and its project team sincerely appreciate the public’s understanding and continued patience.  

Please be assured that all parties involved in this much needed and anticipated project are diligently working toward a successful completion.A supervisor is at the construction site daily and the City will take the necessary actions to ensure public safety.  

We will continue to keep the neighborhoods and public informed at all times.  

For project updates please visit www.SarasotaGov.com/Projects.

Bill Hallisey was the City of Sarasota Utilities Director and wrote this Sept. 25. He resigned later that day, according to The Herald-Tribune.

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