Fort Lauderdale city commissioners passed a $65 million plan Tuesday to replace piping throughout the city after millions of gallons sewage spilled onto the streets from several sewer main breaks.
In a commission meeting, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Chris Lagerbloom explained to officials how six sewer main breaks caused 126 million gallons of sewage to spew into neighborhood canals last December.
December 10th marked the beginning of the saga when a 54-inch sewer main broke at 1030 Ponce de Leon Drive, in the Rio Vista neighborhood.
At that point, Lagerbloom said he knew more breaks were imminent. The question then became where to divert the discharging waste.
“This was a single point of failure line where if it chose to break, that there was not a way to divert the flow. And unfortunately December 10, I was telling folks we were forced in making one of three very bad decisions. They were all bad decisions but one of them had to be made and that was where do we put these flows during the repairs,” Lagerbloom says.
A recent report by the city revealed the damage that was done to the area.
It showed that the Rio Vista neighborhood took the brunt of the sewage discharge. Nearly 113 million gallons spilled in the neighborhood's Hector and Virginia Young Park.
Officials also reported that 13.70 million gallons of sewage was discharged into the Himmarshee canal on Dec. 21. A waterway advisory remains in effect for the body of water.
The city has met with contractors and are discussing plans to replace the 7.5 mile pipe.
The project has an estimated 60 million dollar price tag and would take about 18 months to complete, according to officials.
No information has been released on how much it has cost Fort Lauderdale to repair the December sewer main breaks. But, Lagerbloom says they have taken money from several other city funds.