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City crews repair sewer valve break caused by hit-and-run driver

By Staff | Feb 16, 2011

Crews with the Cape Coral Utilities Collection and Distribution Section repaired a broken valve connected to a sewer force main that was damaged this morning by a hit-and-run driver Wednesday morning.
According to city reports, the driver left the road and struck the above-ground valve box. Utilities staff estimates that as much as 14,000 gallons of raw sewage may have spilled into the catch basin before the valve could be shut off.
At 7:28 a.m., a call was received by fire dispatch that a driver had possibly hit an electrical box at the intersection of Northeast 7th Place and Tropicana Boulevard. The driver fled the scene but later was located.
Upon arrival, fire crews found that the vehicle had struck the protective box for the automatic relief valve on a sewer line, not an electrical box. The impact snapped the automatic relief valve on the sewer force main allowing raw sewage to begin flowing into the catch basin.
The report indicates utility crews were notified of the accident and spill at about 7:40 a.m., and arrived on scene within 15 minutes and began excavating around the pipe to reach the shutoff valve. Workers accessed the shutoff valve by 8:45 a.m. and stopped the flow of sewage; however, the crew was unable to prevent most of the 14,000 gallons of sewage from entering the stormwater system.
The crews did clean the area around the spill and spread lime on the ground.
The impacted storm system travels west along Tropicana and then heads north to the southeast corner of Arrowhead Lake. The outfall pipe and point of impact is located at Northeast 7th Avenue and Northeast 7th Terrace. The city hand-delivered 25 notices to all the homeowners around the lake advising them to avoid the water until testing is complete and “all clear” notices are received.
The city has notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.