Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Peck Sink repair bill is manageable, Hernando officials say

BROOKSVILLE — It looks like Tropical Storm Debby's epic rainfall won't swamp the county with big repair bills for the Peck Sink project after all.

Fixing containment ponds damaged by heavy rain and floodwaters can probably be done for about $150,000, according to a memo from Dale Ravencraft, the engineering manager for the county's environmental services division.

Based on initial estimates, officials had feared the bill could climb to twice that or more.

"It's more encouraging than what we were expecting," said Susan Goebel-Canning, the county's environmental services director.

Awarded to Goodwin Brothers Construction in June 2011, the $1.3 million project on the north side of Wiscon Road, southwest of Brooksville, includes swales, lined ponds, piping and plants to treat the stormwater entering Peck Sink Preserve. The sink serves as the drain into the aquifer for a large area from southwest Brooksville to the Hernando County Airport.

The funding came from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant, along with dollars from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the county's stormwater taxing unit.

When Debby hit, county officials were already working with Goodwin Brothers to repair damage caused by heavy rains that fell in early June, just as crews were wrapping up work. Grasses planted had not yet flourished, leaving the soil vulnerable to erosion.

Then Debby dumped some 15 inches of rain on some parts of the county, and the entire Peck Sink treatment project remained submerged for days.

The water has receded, but heavy rains continue to fall almost daily, exacerbating the existing damage. The overall design, however, is sound and worked properly, officials say.

"Contrary to the criticism the county has received regarding the project, my experience (is) that when dealing with stormwater, these situations are quite common and there is nothing overly complicated in accomplishing the repairs," Ravencraft wrote in his memo.

The most urgent priority, Goebel-Canning said, is to restore the slopes and regrade the top parts of the berms and perimeter areas to control runoff.

That will also prevent further damage to the plastic liner buried underneath the soil to keep the water in the ponds and to prevent the formation of sinkholes. The rainfall exposed portions of the liner and damaged a small area. County workers were on site last week to stabilize the one area of major concern.

"You don't want water getting underneath there," Goebel-Canning said.

The soil is so saturated that operating heavy equipment is difficult and could even be unsafe, so much of the work will have to wait until the area dries out a bit. That might not happen until the rainy season begins to taper off, Goebel-Canning said.

Ravencraft met with representatives from King Engineering this week to finalize a restoration plan. The firm will receive some additional compensation for overseeing the recovery construction process, he wrote in his memo.

Coastal Engineering Associates will do a damage assessment survey for no more than $5,000, and Goodwin Brothers has offered to deliver, free of charge, soil with a high clay content that will be more resistant to erosion.

"At this point, everybody's being cooperative," Goebel-Canning said.

The county is exploring several options for the funding, so it's too early to tell if the extra expense will bring the project in over budget, she said.

Mother Nature's dousing came at a bad time, but there should be no question that the effort, years in the making, was the right thing to do, said County Commissioner Dave Russell.

"It simply performed as it was intended to perform," Russell said, "and we're better off for it."

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

Comments
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for April 23

Monday’s scoreboardBaseballCanterbury 10, Citrus Park Christian 0Northeast 12, Countryside 5
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge, according to Tampa police.Officers took James Leon Jackson into custody at 2712 W Nassau St. in west Tampa at about 1 p.m. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Friday....
Updated: 1 hour ago
A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

In May 1914, a Hernando County grand jury decided not to indict John Davis, a black man accused of attempting to assault a white woman in a hotel. But days after he was released from the Citrus County jail, Davis’s body was found beaten with a ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., April 23, midday:40 874 5140e_SRit69262Mon., April 23, evening:76 974 2849e_SRit78236Fantasy 5Mon., April...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

ArmeniaLeader quits: ‘I was wrong’Ten days of demonstrations forced the resignation Monday of the man who has led post-Soviet Armenia since 2008. The unexpected resignation prompted the jubilation of tens of thousands in capital Yerevan’s Republic Sq...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden County sheriff’s ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Saudi-led airstrike at Yemen wedding killed at least 20

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people including the bride, health officials said Monday, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

ST. PETERSBURG — Photojournalist Michael Egger pulled into the apartment complex off 71st Avenue N on Monday afternoon, waiting for reporter Mark Douglas. The two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists were looking for someone — they wouldn’t say who — when they fou...
Updated: 3 hours ago