Friday, July 22, 2016

We're remedying City's frequent sewage spills

We, the People have been reporting the City of St. Augustine's pollution to the National Response Center for ten years. We get results.
Enough pollution in Lincolnville a/k/a "The Pollution Peninsula" and elsewhere.
In 2008, then Assistant City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. falsely claimed that it was a misuse of the National Response Center to report sewage spills -- the oafish underling of City Manager WILLIAM HARRISS A/K/A "WILL HARASS" dared to publicly stigmatize Judith Seraphin and I for our protected activity.
We ignored the lugubrious goober and kept making reports.
As a result, the City has been repeatedly fined for sewage and solid waste violations.
As a result, every time there's a sewage spill, there's a record.
As a result, EPA and FDEP are watching the City of St. Augustine.
As a result, this is a better, safer place for people, wildlife, our water supply and our environment.
We, the People wear the Establishment's scorn as a badge of honor.
We fight like saber tooth tigers to preserve and protect our Nation's Oldest City.
And as LBJ said to Congress after Selma: "We SHALL overcome."

St. Augustine plans manhole project to help keep rain from sewer system
Posted: July 21, 2016 - 11:42pm | Updated: July 22, 2016 - 9:05am
St. Augustine, environmental agency reach agreement on sewer spills
St. Augustine commissioners give nod to sewer spill agreement

As part of the city of St. Augustine’s work on correcting sewer spills, it is planning to upgrade manholes to help keep stormwater from going into the sewer system.

The effort is an in-kind project planned in lieu of paying a fine to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for sewer spills.

It’s also part of a consent order between the city and the FDEP on how the city will address 18 sanitary sewer spills and overflows that occurred from July 2015 to February, and how the city will address spills and help prevent others.

The agreement, approved by the City Commission in May, requires the submission of a Capacity Management Operations and Maintenance assessment report to the FDEP as well as fines and fees of $5,500 or an in-kind project.

The city had planned to get a consultant for completing the assessment, but decided to do the work in-house, public works director Martha Graham said at a recent meeting.

The assessment report is due in August, said Todd Grant, deputy public works director for St. Augustine. A draft is undergoing peer review by the Jacksonville Electric Authority, which has gone through the process before, Grant said.

The in-kind project that the city recently proposed to the FDEP — called “Wastewater Collection System Inflow Reduction” — would help keep stormwater from going into the wastewater system by installing manhole inflow dishes, according to the project proposal from the city.

Basically, they are dishes inside of the manhole that collect water that seeps in.

Sanitary sewer manhole covers have gaps in them, so at high tide and during rain, excess water gets in and can overwhelm the sanitary sewer system, Grant said.

“The sewer system is designed to handle waste,” Grant said. “It’s not designed to handle waste plus a lot of rainwater.”

Stress on the system can cause longer run-times at pump stations and “elevated flows at the wastewater treatment facility,” according to the proposal.

Other benefits of the project include reducing overflows related to rainfall and reduced maintenance costs because debris is kept from going into the system, according to the proposal.

The city hasn’t chosen the location for the dishes, but they’re looking into Davis Shores, the area between City Hall and the seawall and an area near the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Graham said.

The city has 2,100 manholes, Graham said, and expects “246 manholes will be outfitted with dishes” according to the proposal.

The project has to be completed in January, and Graham added that the city has already used the dishes on some manholes.

The cost is estimated to be $10,095 with staff time included, according to the proposal.

The downside of the project is that water may drain slower from roadways and into the storm drain, Graham said.

When asked if the change is worthwhile, she said, “We can’t have it going into the sewer system.”

The FDEP recently approved the project, said Russell Simpson, of FDEP’s Northeast District.

The proposal said the project is “valued at [1.5] times the civil penalty, which in this case is the equivalent of at least $7,500.” The penalty, which the project replaces, was stipulated in the consent order.

In-kind projects are “above and beyond” measures that wouldn’t have to be done for normal regulatory compliance, said Jim Maher, assistant director for the Northeast FDEP district. The final decision is made by the district director.

Part of the consent order stipulates fines for any spills after the consent order is in effect. Maher said three spills have been reported, one of which reached surface water and would be eligible for a $500 fine. That was less than 100 gallons after a manhole overflow on Solano Avenue, which affected Quarry Creek.

That overflow, which happened on June 7 like the other two, was from heavy rains from Tropical Storm Colin, Maher said. The FDEP hasn’t made a decision on the fine yet. Fines are typically collected on an annual basis, he said.

Another June 7 spill — this one at Old Quarry Road and Baru Road — was a 5,000-gallon spill from a forcemain break that was diverted to a retention pond, and 3,800 gallons were pumped out, according to the city’s sewer spill log. The rest went in the ground.

Outside of the three referenced by Maher, another entry was listed on the city’s sewer spill log, a blockage on June 24 on Hypolita Street.

The city of St. Augustine has completed in-kind projects for previous consent orders, including “the toilet’s not a trash can campaign,” Grant said. That effort tried to get people to stop flushing things other than toilet paper.

Other than the current consent order, the city has had at least four consent orders since 2008.

Outside of the consent order, the city has been upgrading utilities and helping to prevent future spills, including equipment and instrumentation replacements at a lift station worth $137,000 and “calling out emergency pump contractors and authorizing [the city] employee overtime to control [spills] during very high rain events at a total cost in excess of $60,000,” according to the consent order and previous reporting.

ANTHONYSER 07/22/16 - 08:55 am 00Rain water
The worse one is at West San Carlos by th Library

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