- June 1, 2016
Sometimes, the entrance to Emerald Harbor stinks.
It’s the smell of sewage, resident Ann Summers said, and she’s glad the town is doing something about it.
Longboat Key began a more than $3 million project in the past month to replace all sewer and water lines in Emerald Harbor as part of the town’s effort to replace aging infrastructure on the island.
Once all the pipe is laid, the town will resurface the roads in what it anticipates to be a yearlong project.
“I’m hoping the smell won’t be there. I’m hoping the drains will drain better. I’m hoping the street won’t break up, causing the depressions in the streets,” Summer said.
Funding for the project was set aside years ago. Water and sewer fees supplied the utilities fund. The streets fund comes from gas taxes.
The metal pipes in the ground corrode when in the presence of saltwater, which seeps into Emerald Harbor’s water table, said Utilities Manager Bert Warner.
The corroded metal pipes are being replaced with PVC pipes that are resistant to the corrosive properties of saltwater, Warner said.
“The pipes are probably good for 60 to 80 years,” Warner said.
Alycia Craft said she’s glad the work is being done. Craft lives on Binnacle Point Drive, the first road that construction crews have worked on as they install new pipes under the roadway.
The workers have been nice to her, and Craft said she even has brought them water as they work in the midsummer heat.
“It’s fascinating to watch what they do,” Craft said.
But Summers said she’s concerned about the timeline of the project — workers have had pipes in her yard for almost a week now.
She also said she’s disappointed the town did not align this project with another to put all overhead wires underground, meaning workers will have to dig in the neighborhood once more within the next few years.
Summers does welcome the work, though. She’s been watching the road as it crumbles because of decaying organic matter deteriorating in the soil underneath.
“We’d get almost like sinkholes where the asphalt becomes broken up,” Summers said. “It’s definitely a project that needs to be done.”
Both Summers and Craft said the town has done of good job of communicating with residents about the project.
The town put door hangers on everyone’s door with information about the work, Summers said. And the town has been working with the Emerald Harbor Homeowners Association to disseminate details about the work, said Craft, a former member of the board.
“I’m very happy for the city doing this and look forward to it nearing completion,” Summers said.