NEW PORT RICHEY — The New Port Richey City Council received a hefty initial bill for repairs to its wastewater treatment plant following a pipe rupture last month that led to a 300,000-gallon spill.
Pasco County also must pay for part of the repairs, because it owns part of the plant from which it receives treated water, city officials said during a council meeting Tuesday.
Council members unanimously approved spending more than $232,000 for engineering and construction services needed in the wake of the spill, with the county bound by an inter-local agreement to pay 40 percent of those costs, city public works director Robert Rivera told the council.
On May 4, a 20-inch pipe ruptured on an aeration tank at the facility at 4730 Main Street, west of U.S. 19. The city discovered the breach at 7 a.m. and stopped the leak at 10:15 a.m., officials said, with half the spill remaining on land. However, approximately 150,000 gallons of wastewater seeped into Cross Bayou, part of the lower coastal watershed that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.
Sampling in the area afterward showed no water quality problems, but officials want to get the tank back up and running. It holds up to 1.6 million gallons of wastewater for treatment and is one of four such tanks. Plans include repairing the pipes in that tank, plus inspecting and making improvements to the other tanks.
The City Council approved spending $153,797.62 for a new 20-inch pipe, as well as a shut-off valve. The existing system, built in 1988, did not have one, according to Rivera.
The Council also approved spending an $79,080.00 for engineering services. That will cover the new pipe and valve, plus replacing the piping and installing a cut-off valve on another tank system built in 1988. Two other tanks, built several years later, will be inspected "to determine what type of work if any, might be needed," Rivera wrote in a memo to the Council.
Council members praised the plan.
"We need to do this in order to get ahead of any issues," Council member Matt Murphy said.
In other news, the New Port Richey Main Street organization is back in action. The group, which operated under a state Main Street umbrella for nearly 30 years, fell dormant last year, leading the city to cut off its funding.
Recently, new volunteers have formed a nine-person board of directors, and Main Street hired an executive director, Liz Misemer.
On Tuesday, the City Council, acting as the New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency, approved giving $15,000 to Main Street over the next year. The organization is known for its Cotee River Seafood and Blues Festival, KiaFest Main Street Blast and Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade.