County moves to fix Bee Ridge water plant by 2025
As more partially treated wastewater slipped over the weir at Sarasota County’s Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility Wednesday, county commissioners gave support to spending an estimated $157 million to make such nitrogen dumps less routine in the future — and also a lot less degrading for the environment.
Since a wave of torrential rains began in the middle of August, more than 38 million gallons of “reclaimed water” — with enough sewage filtered out to spray on lawns but not to drink — have escaped from an overflowing pond at the Bee Ridge plant. Mike Mylett, interim director for public utilities, said the spills will continue at the rate of “3 or 5 million gallons a day” as long as the rains continue.
Fixing the problem won’t be cheap, and on Wednesday commissioners heard about the first direct cost to county residents: a proposed hike in wastewater fees of 5% annually for five years, plus a monthly “water quality fee” of $1 per dwelling unit. For a household now paying just over $45 a month, that represents a 30% increase, to $58.50 in 2024.