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City of Bradenton spill dumps 1.2 million gallons of wastewater in Manatee River

An operational failure in the city's wastewater treatment plan led to the spill.

Wastewater rises at the city of Bradenton's treatment facility after a filter was blocked.
Wastewater rises at the city of Bradenton's treatment facility after a filter was blocked.
Courtesy image
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Over the course of five hours on Feb. 28, the city of Bradenton’s wastewater treatment facility released 1.2 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into storm drains and the Manatee River.

The incident was reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection the same day by the facility’s superintendent William Waitt. The report says an operational failure led to a blocked filter. 

The plant is located at 1810 First St. W. The roads and grass that were affected near the intersection of South Tamiami Trail and 17th Avenue West were treated with lime, but there’s no quick fix for the Manatee River. 

“We’re not sure how much treatment the water received before it was bypassed at the plant to be spilled,” Executive Director of Suncoast Waterkeeper Abbey Tyrna said. “Regardless, the water is in there, and it’s going to move out through currents and tides. So until we know it’s been moved out, people should be cautious of exposing themselves to the river.” 

Testing for Fecal Coliform and Enterococci began on Feb. 28 and will continue until acceptable results are obtained. 



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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