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A burst pipe pours wastewater into Sarasota waters

 Sarasota Bay
Wikipedia Commons
Sarasota Bay

A corroded sewage pipe burst in Sarasota Friday night, impacting areas including Whitaker Bayou. City officials say about 340,000 gallons poured into the storm drainage system. Much of that flowed into the bayou, which flows into Sarasota Bay just north of downtown.

Officials with the city's utilities department said they fixed the corroded pipe and the cleanup was completed by Saturday night. They said the pipe was about 45 years old, which is less than its expected life span of about 70 years.

“Examination of the pipe revealed the pipe ruptured due to corrosion which is somewhat unusual given the age of the pipe” said Utilities Director Bill Riebe in a prepared statement. "The rupture certainly was unexpected.”

To determine if the corrosion is isolated to the failed section, Utilities Department technicians and engineers are evaluating the entire pipeline.

The 16-inch diameter pressurized pipe ruptured near Shade Avenue and 8th Street at about 9:30 p.m. Friday night.

The public is advised to avoid contact with water in the Whitaker Bayou until further notice. Health advisory notices were placed at the location of the spill by the Department of Health.
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Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.