Water-Related News

Utility crews work to avoid sewer spills, ask for water conservation

Utility crews in places without power are working around the clock to avoid sewage spills as residents continue to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma.

“If the resident doesn’t have power at home, it’s safe to say that their lift station doesn’t have power,” said David Bayhan, utility services director in Winter Haven. “What we want our residents to do is conserve water. Don’t flush the toilet unless you have to. Don’t do five loads of laundry just because you’re bored. That water is creating sewer and going downstream.”

Haines City is having problems with its lift stations because of power outages there.

As of Tuesday, 90 of Winter Haven’s 198 lift stations were without commercial power, and of those, 67 were without permanent generators.

By Thursday afternoon, 26 were without commercial power and five were running on a permanent generator, Bayhan said. Six others have a generator or bypass pump while the city rotates generators to service the other 15.

“We have a crew working through the night rotating generators at lift stations,” Bayhan said. “We’re doing everything in our power to keep up with these lift stations. We just ask that you bear with us until we get through this.”

In Haines City, which still did not have power restored to major parts of the city Thursday, the situation is similar. Utilities Director Mike Stripling said the city has about 50 lift stations it is servicing and only 13 have permanent generators.