Crews cleared a large section of wooded area adjacent to Siesta Key Beach yesterday as part of the county’s ongoing Beach Road Drainage Project.
The trees were cleared to make way for a retention pond that will collect rainwater runoff from the beach parking lot and surrounding areas and pass the water through a filtration system, which will be built adjacent to the pond, before it is pumped into the Gulf of Mexico.
“You wouldn’t believe the chemicals and oils that seep out of the asphalt when it rains after a dry spell,” said Larry Allen, manager of construction services for DMK Associates, an engineering firm working on the drainage project. “It’s important to filter that runoff. Siesta was ranked the best beach in the country, we want to keep it that way.”
The cleared foliage, which as of Wednesday was collected into enormous mounds, will be grinded down on site and hauled to Miami to be used in an electric plant, Allen said. This is all done at no additional charge to taxpayers, Allen added.
The Beach Road Drainage Project will cost $2 million.
According to Sarasota County Public Works, the retention pond will cover one acre. The county’s plans call for a 20-foot vegetation barrier to be left between the pond and Beach Road. As of Wednesday, the clearing stretched all the way to Beach Road with no vegetation buffer.
The county’s plans also state that a vegetation buffer would be built between the pond and the Gulf and Bay Club condominium complex.
The planned stormwater treatment system will include a filtration vault with ultra-violet light treatment units, a pumping station and a discharge pipe to carry the filtered runoff approximately 2000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico.
The project’s estimated completion date was recently pushed back from November to December, according to the Siesta Key Village Association.
Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected].