FAQs

What is the Lift Station 87 Project?

The Lift Station 87 Project includes a new, above-ground 9.5 million gallon per day lift station in Luke Wood Park at 1900 Mound Street. The new lift station will replace the existing Lift Station 7 at 935 Pomelo Avenue. Wastewater flow will be redirected from Lift Station 7 to Lift Station 87 by a new gravity wastewater transmission main, a section of which has been constructed under Hudson Bayou, along the Osprey Avenue corridor.

Why is the project needed?

Lift Station 7, which handles approximately one-third of the City’s wastewater flow, is near the end of its useful life and has had a history of failures. Once completed, the project will improve wastewater service and reliability for City of Sarasota customers and protect the environment.

Who is doing the work?

In August 2013, the City selected McKim & Creed, Inc., to complete the engineering necessary to finish the Lift Station 87 Project. The City went through a competitive procurement process, and McKim & Creed’s team was selected for its demonstrated lift station, microtunneling and large diameter pipeline design and construction expertise. McKim & Creed is a local engineering firm with 17 offices across the United States. Vadnais Trenchless Services completed the microtunnels under Hudson Bayou and Luke Wood Park. Phase 2, Lift Station 87 construction, was competitively bid and awarded to PCL Construction.

Why did the City change Lift Station 87 to an above-ground facility?

A vulnerability analysis conducted by McKim & Creed showed that Lift Station 87, as previously designed, required a number of changes in order to withstand storm surges associated with a Category 2 hurricane. However, the City decided that Lift Station 87 should be upgraded to withstand the impact of a Category 3 hurricane in order to keep Sarasota Memorial Hospital and other critical designated storm shelters in operation after a storm event. The City directed McKim & Creed to bring critical equipment above ground to a height above the Category 3 storm surge elevation. The City’s wastewater treatment plant is also built to withstand a Category 3 storm.

Why is it important that the facility withstand a Category 3 hurricane?

Lift Station 87 will be a priority facility for the City. It will handle about one-third of the City’s wastewater as well as wastewater from Sarasota Memorial Hospital and three designated hurricane shelters.

What will the building look like?

The approved concept for the building is inspired by the Hover Arcade, a historic Sarasota landmark formerly located at the entrance of Marina Jack's. The building once served as city hall. The Lift Station 87 design features two towers, a parapet roof and doors and windows reminiscent of the Hover Arcade. The design evolved over time to include input from the City's Urban Design Studio and residents. Click here to see the architectural drawings.

What will the landscaping around the building look like?

The City has approved a landscape plan that features plants that are native to the Sarasota region and meet the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping. The plan, which was presented to the community on Nov. 9, 2016, includes large size trees, such as 20-foot tall southern like oaks, 10-12-foot tall slash pines, southern red cedar and cabbage palm. Other plants in the landscape design include grey saw palmetto, muhly grass, beautyberry, wild coffee and more. Pervious concrete pavers will be used to provide a firm foundation for maintenance vehicles, minimize stormwater runoff from the site, and provide a pleasing aesthetic.

What is the height of the new building?

The approved design shows a building height of approximately 35 feet at the top of the roof. The roof design and building height have changed based on input from various stakeholder groups. The height of the towers is approximately 58 feet. The intent of the design is to locate HVAC and equipment exhausts in the towers to minimize community impacts. The design of the building is in full compliance with the City's zoning code.

Will the new building be built on the footprint of the existing underground facility?

The approximate building location can be seen here. The exact location will be refined as the project design is finalized. The intent will be to minimize additional impacts to Luke Wood Park.

Will all the project elements be constructed at the same time?

Project construction is sequenced in three overlapping phases protect the City's investment and minimize risks: 1) the microtunnels under Hudson Bayou and Luke Wood Park, 2) Lift Station 87 construction and 3) the open cut installation of the gravity sewer mains and decommissioning Lift Station 7. The open cut sewer construction cannot begin until the new lift station is operational. 

Will Luke Wood Park stay nice during construction?

The City and project team understand the importance of Luke Wood Park to the residents. No existing trees are planned for removal during the Lift Station 87 project. During construction, the project team is making efforts to minimize construction impacts in the park by working within the fenced area. The construction fencing around the site will be maintained during construction. Once the lift station building is complete, new native Florida landscaping  will be planted.

What other construction do you anticipate?

Equipment was removed from the underground lift station and existing structures are being demolished. Portions of the underground facility will be filled in and the above-ground structure will be built. Other major construction includes installing an 8-inch gravity sewer by open cut along Pomelo Avenue and Pomelo Place. While that work is occurring, water mains will be replaced with larger pipes to improve fire flow protection and new reclaimed water mains will be installed in the area. Roads will be fully restored and Lift Station 7 will be demolished and restored to a park-like setting.

Along Alta Vista Street and Osprey Avenue, a 24‐inch diameter pipeline and an 8‐inch diameter pipeline will be installed simultaneously by open cut. Additionally, aging ductile iron and asbestos cement pipe will be replaced, new reclaimed water mains will be installed, any storm sewers that are disrupted will be replaced, and the roads will be fully restored curb‐to‐curb at the end of pipeline installation.

What will happen to Lift Station 7?

Once Lift Station 87 is fully operational, Lift Station 7 will be decommissioned and that site will be fully restored and landscaped to a park-like setting.

When did the City meet with residents to develop a landscape plan for the Lift Station 7 property?

The City met with neighborhood residents on Feb. 15 and Feb. 28, 2017, to discuss demolition of the Lift Station 7 facilities and plans to return the area to a park-like setting. Community input was used to select a plan that features an ornamental fence, ornamental benches, a walking path and native plants.

What is microtunneling?

Microtunneling is a term that means installing underground utilities without digging an open trench. Various sizes and types of pipelines can be installed by microtunneling. Microtunneling is often used to minimize impacts on the environment, traffic and neighborhoods. Microtunneling requires specialized techniques and equipment. To install a pipeline by microtunnel, vertical shafts are excavated on each side of a trenchless crossing. Tunneling equipment is placed in one shaft and then tunnels to the other at a controlled alignment and grade. Special equipment is used to keep the shafts dewatered and to remove dirt and rock from the tunneling process.

Was microtunneling successful for this project?

Yes. The project team's extensive geotechnical and geophysical investigations led to sound design and successful construction. The microtunnel segment under Hudson Bayou began in late January 2017 and was completed in March 2017. The microtunnel segment under Luke Wood Park began in April 2017 and was completed in June 2017.

How will you handle traffic? Can you avoid the traffic problems that occurred during previous construction?

Citizen input regarding safety for the walking, biking and driving community has been invaluable to the project team. The input we received during the public meetings informed our maintenance of traffic plans during the Osprey Bridge closure. Before we develop traffic plans for the open-cut gravity sewer installation, we'll hold community meetings to request resident input on that phase of work. We do not expect significant traffic disruptions during construction of Lift Station 87. However, utility connections at the intersection of Osprey and Lincoln will require partial or full lane closures. Advance notices will be issued similar to those done in Phase 1.

What is the project budget?

The current construction budget is $32 million. This includes the cost to bring Lift Station 87 above-ground to withstand Category 3 storm surges. Project enhancements include installing reclaimed water mains to provide the area with an environmentally friendly source of irrigation water, replacing aging water mains to improve water pressure, installing new sewer mains, fully resurfacing roadways curb to curb and landscaping the Lift Station 7 site, once decommissioned. Approximately $8 million was previously spent to construct the project.

Will our rates go up?

The City Commission has approved the use of a state loan program to finance the construction of Phases 2 and 3. Phase 1, which was successfully completed under budget, was funded through the Utilities Capital Improvements Program. At this time, there is no planned rate increase for the customers of the City of Sarasota Utilities Department, relative to the Lift Station 87 project.

Who notifies the public when there is a sewage spill in Hudson Bayou? Can folks that live in the vicinity be notified sooner?

The Sarasota County Health Department is responsible for testing the water and notifying residents of potential contamination. The City of Sarasota Utilities Department assists with notification by posting signs in the area. In the event of a wastewater spill associated with Lift Station 7, we will also post notices on this website.

How is the team engaging the community?

There are a number of ways that residents can be involved and stay up-to-date on the project. Periodic community meetings will be held to provide information, answer questions and solicit input. In addition to this website, a communications line has been set up for residents to call for information (941-356-8071). Utility department employees are also on site at the construction field office, 824 S. Osprey Ave. Staff will provide answers and resolutions to any issues that residents have concerning the project.

The project team is coordinating closely with the City on all communications efforts. The City’s website links to the project web site, and the City is sending updates and notifications to all those on its e-subscribers list and its Twitter followers.