Leon County Commission Hears Update on 190,000 Gallon Wastewater Spill Near Lake Jackson

Leon County Commission Hears Update on 190,000 Gallon Wastewater Spill Near Lake Jackson

During the Leon County meeting on February 8, the Leon County Commission heard a report by County Administrator Vince Long regarding a break in City of Tallahassee wastewater mainline. The break occured on Saturday, February 5, 2022, spilling approximately 190,000 gallons of wastewater south of Lake Jackson.

The leak originated from the city’s pump station along Meginnis Arm Road. It impacted an adjacent stormwater treatment facility, operated by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, which flows into a small pond or creek that eventually runs into Lake Jackson.

City crews worked quickly to minimize the overflow and impact to surface water by utilizing sandbags, pump trucks, and septic collars until the repairs to the main were complete. As a result, the city recovered 325,000 gallons of water over the weekend, and another 500,000 gallons of water were pumped out on Monday, and still, the efforts continue.

The recovered water is pumped into the city’s sewer system and treated as regular wastewater.

The city has notified the FDEP, the Florida Department of Health, and the Wastewater Management District and are taking water quality samples from Meginnis Arm. These efforts will continue until the water samples return to normal levels. The city expects this process to be completed by the end of the week.

As of Tuesday, February 8, there were no elevated bacteria levels, nor are there any public health environmental hazards to be expected. However, the city has notified local communities of the incident, and the city will notify the county and district once the water quality returns to normal.

12 Responses to "Leon County Commission Hears Update on 190,000 Gallon Wastewater Spill Near Lake Jackson"

  1. When you look at the developer money flying around to John Dailey, Dianne Williams-Cox and Chambercrat candidates like Scott Maddox supporter David Bellamy, you begin to understand why these people are never held accountable.

    Also interesting TR is trying to run interference for the City, given all the payments they are receiving from local government

  2. David Hawkins: Thank you for using our Florida Sewage Spills website (www.multi-fin.com) website in gathering the city’s historical spills for the last few years (data is available back to 2001).

    I invite you to visit the “Charts” section where you can create a chart on spills, plus, overlay annual rain data to show its annual influence. Why? Because we have a very leaky sewage collection system where rain and local water bodies infiltrate the system, eventually, overwhelming the system causing spills. 2018 is an excellent example. Since then, we have been in either a draught or recovering.

    Yes, if water is infiltrating there are concerns of sewage exfiltrating. Six water bodies have been confirmed having sewage. We have a project with FSU grad students and their noted hydrologist professor to address our concerns. Just waiting the City to give the go ahead and staff oversight.

    Terry Ryan/Co-Founder
    Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group

  3. When I ran for County Commissioner back in 2016, the Septic Tanks, Sewage Spills and Wakulla Springs was a big issue. I think I was the only Candidate to mention “Preventative Maintenance” at the Treatment Plants and Pump Stations. From these figures I pulled off the Website for Sewage Spills, it looks like no one listened. These are the Gallons of Sewage Spills and the Reasons given from 2018 to 2021.

    TOTALS 563,105
    Blockage 472,215
    Break in Line 45,100
    Equipment 40,900
    Contractor 4,890
    Other 0

    TOTALS 139,955
    Blockage 10,390
    Break in Line 950
    Equipment 78,320
    Contractor 41,720
    Other 575

    TOTALS 237,029
    Blockage 210,515
    Break in Line 550
    Equipment 8,000
    Contractor 17,649
    Other 315

    TOTAL 1,657,870
    Blockage 552,040
    Break in Line 451,625
    Equipment 313,250
    Contractor 0
    Other 26,050
    Power 363,505

  4. Imagine what the Lake Jackson area would look like today if I-10 had followed the route proposed by Phipps and actually gone across the lake? Yikes!

  5. Yet another large spill and follows another through a residential neighborhood off Hartsfield Rd a few months ago. Word is City has had lots of legal problems from the State for the last several years. Wasnt a former city commissioner married to a manager in the sewage department? I hear when it rains a lot the sewage pours out of pipes and manholes- where’s the investigative reporting?

  6. I would like to see the list sewage spills statewide going back the last 20 years to see how Tallahassee compares with other cities.

    Tallahassee is blessed to have nice water since we are on the aquifer. Many citizens are conscientious of protecting the water and should be taken more seriously.

    Two words..Flint, Michigan.

    Elected officials may want to take the infrastructure dollars more seriously as to where and how they are to be spent.

    The present mayor seems very far removed from water issues in Tallahassee.

  7. Most unfortunately, many municipal and county utilities departments are used as local politician’s secret slush fund. Disbursements to contributors or just plain wasteful spending is drawn from the utility department’s revenue stream (usually out of the sunshine unless FOIA is used). Often – as is the case here in Tallahassee – utility revenue is transferred to the general fund. Here locally, somewhere near 40-45 million a year is pilfered from the utility department and put into the city’s general fund. You can see this by simply reviewing the City’s annual budget.

    These fund should be used for continued and necessary maintenance, upkeep, and replacement of utility infrastructure. But instead are used to plug holes in the City’s General Fund and allow politicians to run on a campaign of “Reelect me because I didn’t raise your taxes”… which is what they would have to do if they weren’t raiding the utility funds.

  8. Years ago there was another break close to where this break occurred. It’s the reason that the Meginnis arm area of the lake is so much deeper than most other parts of the lake — the city removed a lot of contaminated water and lake bottom to clean it all up.

    Apparently the city didn’t learn their lessons very well. And somebody needs to ask how and why this happened in such a sensitive area where there’s a history of issues.

  9. The fees paid for Sewage by City of Tallahassee Utility customers is so high, in part, to pay for fines due to spills, etc, because of old systems etc. As well as overpaid managers who don’t know how to efficiently run the sewer system.

    Instead of fixing the issues it is easier to just raise the cost for customers.

    City Commissioners are not being told the truth regarding the true cost of anything cuz staff is not competent to determine/estimate true cost and/or the impact fee estimates are being deflated before Commissioners are allowed to see them.

  10. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. This happens all the time all over the state. What’s interesting is that these line breaks only seem to happen in infrastructure located near open water bodies, thus leaving the leaking product only one place to go. Can anyone think of a time when/where this kind of line break occurred in the middle of the city, whereby 190,000 gallons of wastewater spilled and ran through the streets?

    The real question is – as Hope has eluded to – where’s all the fees and taxes collected specifically for system maintenance and upkeep going? I think it’s time for an accounting of all taxes and fees confiscated for infrastructure maintenance and upkeep. Let’s see the books, the numbers, the projects, et al… and see if the numbers match up.

  11. This is 100% on the Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad.

    Voters… please be advised that City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has called for a new City Manager and that infrastructure funds NOT be diverted to a football stadium, but Mayor John Dailey resists doing a nationwide search for a valid city manager and voted to divert funds to the football stadium…

    The mayor resists because he couldn’t continue his corruption if a valid city manager was appointed. Sewage spills… A prime example of why the mayor should NOT divert infrastructure funds to a football stadium.

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