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1565 First Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2015
Contact: Jan Thornburg, Sr. Communications Manager 941-954-2613



Sarasota, FL: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection notified the City of Sarasota last week the requirements and conditions of Consent Order #05-2211, which directed the City to improve its wastewater collection system, have been met satisfactorily. FDEP closed the consent order and placed it into an inactive file.


“This is a significant achievement,” said Mitt Tidwell, Utilities Director.  “Through an extensive commitment to capital improvements, the reliability of the wastewater collection and treatment system in the City of Sarasota has been enhanced and the surface water in Sarasota Bay is cleaner,” said Mr. Tidwell.  “The City made system improvements to the satisfaction of FDEP.”


The Utilities Department worked closely with FDEP and Atkins North America, Inc., a well-respected engineering and project management company, which provided detailed recommendations to the City on how to comply with the consent order.  Each year the City of Sarasota was required to submit a written report to FDEP summarizing the status of the wastewater collection system and staff’s efforts to comply with the consent order.  The City also was required to include a projection of planned improvements for the upcoming year. 


To achieve the goal of minimizing discharges and eliminating chronic toxicity, substantial capital improvements were made to the City’s wastewater collection system, including:


  • * Significant rehabilitation of eight master lift stations (LS 2, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 21 and 40)
  • * Pipe replacement and lining citywide
  • * Installation of a new 500 kilowatt generator at Lift Station 7
  • * Installation of a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) monitoring and alarm system which allows for the control of remote equipment


Other modifications involved changes to internal policies, procedures and protocols:


  • * Monitor the power at Master Lift Stations
  • * Perform documented daily inspections on lift station operations
  • * Perform weekly load tests on generators 
  • * Maintain thorough, accurate and up-to-date records on facilities
  • * Properly staff facilities with qualified individuals
  • * Track and document maintenance/repairs
  • * Cross train employees for other duties
  • * Expand the Wastewater Systems Sewage Spill Protocol to include a dedicated Lift Station Emergency Response Team trained in case of a lift station failure


“Over the past nine years, the City Commissions have budgeted important system improvements as our Utilities Department implemented new technology to our operations,” said City Manager Tom Barwin.  “I would like to thank all who have worked together as we strive to restore Sarasota Bay to its natural pristine condition.”


Between February 2004 and September 2005, there were 41 reported wastewater discharges within the City of Sarasota.  51 percent were due to structural, mechanical or electrical failure, or blockages caused by grease etc.  The remainder was the result of acts of nature and third party actions.  Following two unauthorized discharges at Lift Station 7 in 2004 and 2005, FDEP issued the consent order in June 2006. 


 “The consent order was 17 pages and just a few paragraphs addressed Lift Station 7,” said Mr. Tidwell.   “There was a broad, systemic problem with the wastewater collection system.  City leaders were committed to being good stewards of the environment and improving that collection system.  FDEP has recognized those efforts and the positive impact on Sarasota Bay and its marine life by closing the consent order.”


For more information contact Mitt Tidwell, Utilities Director:  941-365-2200 ext. 6210.


About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by Google as a Digital Capital in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida's Suncoast with 53,000 year round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at


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City Hall 1565 1st Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 365-2200