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Town progresses toward replacement of sewer line under Sarasota Bay

The town of Longboat Key has obtained permits to dig up the underwater bed of the bay and install the pipe.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 28, 2023
The purple line running from the Key to the orange dot represents the town-owned wastewater pipeline.
The purple line running from the Key to the orange dot represents the town-owned wastewater pipeline.
Courtesy photo
  • Longboat Key
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Progress has been made in the town’s replacement of its subaqueous force main following a leak in June 2020. 

Corrosion of the pipeline resulted in about 14 million gallons of effluent escaping from the pipeline. 

The mainland portion of the project is “substantially complete,” according to a staff update to town commissioners at their Feb. 21 regular workshop. 

Overall, the mainland portion of fixing the pipe has cost about $2.64 million. The town received two state appropriations to help pay for the project totaling just over $2 million. 

For the portion of the sewer line under the bay, the town has received permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open cut the bay and install a redundant force main under it. 

Open cutting is a method of pipeline installation that requires digging up the underwater bed of Sarasota Bay to the required depth for installing the pipe. 

About 2.8 miles of the town’s 4-mile pipeline would be replaced in this manner. The remaining 1.2 miles was part of the mainland project.

As part of the permit conditions, the town will have to perform seagrass and mangrove mitigation as part of the construction project. 

The town has allocated a total of $21.7 million to cover the project in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. 

Next steps:

  • Continue exploring final design and construction delivery options for the major subaqueous force main replacement project with town consulting engineers and developers.
  • Develop an action plan .
  • Continue meeting consent order requirements imposed by the FDEP in response to the spill.
  • Begin restoration actions in accordance with consent order terms and FDEP authorizations.
  • Complete the force main lining project and pursue opportunities to address the remaining portion of mainland pipe further south along Long Bar Point property.
  • Evaluate feasibility, cost and schedule of the options.
  • Finalize the current pipeline assessment effort.


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