A recent million gallon sewage spill on October 1st – in the area of Capital Circle NE and Mahan Drive – has raised concerns among some residents about the City of Tallahassee underground utility infrastructure.
Terry Ryan the co-founder of Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group and Steve Schaefer, the manage of the City of Tallahassee’s underground utilities have recently appeared on The Steve Stewart Show to address concerns and answer questions. Those interviews can be found here.
Mr. Ryan voiced concerns about transparency and the lack of investment in an aging infrastructure.
Mr. Schaefer acknowledged previous problems, but discussed recent improvements over the last 10-12 years and said the system is meeting expectations.
As part of an ongoing analysis of the underground utility infrastructure, provided below is a chart that provides spill data comparisons. The source of the data is The Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group’s Florida Sewage Spill website (www.multi-fin.com).
The comparison counties were selected based on populations relative to the Leon County population. Three of the counties have higher populations than Leon and two counties are less populous.
The comparison shows:
The average annual spill volume ranged from a low of 385,510 gallons (Alachua) to a high of 2,641,977 gallons (St. Lucie). Leon County had an annual average spill volume of 718,480.
The annual average per/capita spill during the period 2012-2022 ranges from a low of 1.4 gallons (Alachua) to a high of 7.4 gallons (St. Lucie). Leon County per/capita spill rate averaged 2.4 gallons.
For the comparison group, Alachua county had the lowest per capita spill rate and had no spills over 1 million gallons or 5 million gallons during the 2012-2022.
St. Lucie and Escambia counties had the highest per capita spill rate and the most years (2) with spills totaling over 5 million gallons.
Leon county had 4 years with over a 1 million gallons in spills and no years with over 5 million gallons.
A review of the above data indicates three Florida counties (St. Lucie, Clay, Escambia) with a similar population profile as Leon county had major spill issues during the period covered.
The data also reveals that Alachua county had the best results – in terms of spill volume – during the period reviewed.
Next, Tallahassee Reports will look at the number of spill events per year.