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Sewer siren disrupts neighborhood

Original Carrollwood residents have been blasted twice by wastewater alarm.

By TIM GRANT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 17, 2002


CARROLLWOOD -- Residents of Original Carrollwood have a new reason to complain about their water utility.

This time it's not high water bills, but a siren that sounds when a wastewater pump station malfunctions. Twice it's gone off, loudly. And when it does, the neighbors must wait for a technician to turn it off.

"I get a headache after being there a couple of minutes," said Chuck Kim, manager of the Carrollwood Recreation Center. "It's very loud. You can hear it three blocks away."

The sewage lift station at Carrollwood Drive and Lake Carroll Way pumps waste water to the county sewer system. It's owned by Florida Government Utilities which operates the private water system for Original Carrollwood.

A radio dialing system notifies utility technicians of potential problems at the lift station. But the state Department of Environmental Protection also requires a siren to warn residents that wastewater might be backed up.

"It's supposed to be an attention-getter because we are trying to prevent raw sewage from flooding down their streets," said Jeff Burghardt, a DEP environmental specialist. "If that happens, they'll have lots to complain about."

Mike Jaap, however, did not appreciate hearing the siren at daybreak on a Sunday morning, and waiting hours for a technician to dismantle it. "It's the kind of loud continuous blast you'd hear at a basketball game," he said.

Burghardt said Hillsborough County has several hundred lift stations. All have sirens, he said, and they rarely malfunction.

At Florida Government Utilities, spokesman David Lundberg suggested that power surges triggered the alarm. "We're aware of the concerns and we're trying to work out a solution," he said.

- To reach Tim Grant call 269-5311, or at grant@sptimes.com.

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