As engineering firm McKim and Creed continues its design work on the city’s Lift Station 87 project, new issues with the previous work continue to emerge.
The Lift Station 87 structure is in place at 1900 Mound St., but the city’s previous engineering firm was fired after failing to reroute sewage to the new facility from Lift Station 7, located at 935 Pomelo Ave. McKim and Creed has worked on its plans to reroute wastewater to the new lift station, and in the process, it has encountered more problems at Lift Station 87.
The biggest obstacle previous engineering firm AECOM faced was microtunneling beneath the Hudson Bayou to install pipes that direct sewage into the lift station. McKim and Creed believes it has determined the proper depth for microtunneling beneath the bayou, but since that depth is lower than AECOM originally estimated, modifications will have to take place at the lift station itself, as well.
Most significantly, the wet well — where the sewage is first received at the lift station — has to be lowered 11 feet. This requires the demolition of what’s already in place, according to city Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell. Other interior changes — such as the instillation of two new backup pumps to provide emergency power to the lift station — have also been recommended based on McKim and Creed’s recent work.
“We’re just now getting into the serious engineering and design work,” Tidwell said. “We’re learning some things and we’re having to make some modifications.”
At a public meeting Monday, a resident at the nearby Central Park II condominiums asked project manager Steve Topovski whether the city has considered different sites for the lift station due to the continuing issues. Topovski said the city has not yet looked at any other sites, but that it is probably something worth thinking about.
“Maybe we at least take a look,” Topovski said. “Once we go down that road, there are time implications vs. cost implications.”
Even considering the design changes, McKim and Creed project manager Robert Garland said the project should only be delayed a few weeks. The expected completion date has been moved from November 2015 to January 2016. Garland said a price estimate for the project could not be gauged at this point.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued a consent order that requires issues with the city’s wastewater system — particularly the aging infrastructure at Lift Station 7 — to be addressed by April of 2016. Tidwell said that, considering that consent order, the city would most likely opt to continue at the current location.
“You’d have to start over on design to a large extent, plus you’d have to acquire property,” Tidwell said of a potential new site. “It’d very much jeopardize achieving that date.”
For further updates on the Lift Station 87 project, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Sarasota Observer.
Contact David Conway at email@example.com.