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Sewer Water Bubbling Out At Bus Stops Alarming Parents and School District

| October 6, 2017

A manhole cover drowning on Round Tree Drive in Palm Coast today. (© David Roure for FlaglerLive)

A manhole cover drowning on Round Tree Drive in Palm Coast today. (© David Roure for FlaglerLive)

As a festering problem goes, this one is literally the case: Palm Coast’s stormwater system has been so overwhelmed by recent rains that sewer effluents are bubbling up into streets and causing hazardous conditions for pedestrians, especially children waiting for or getting off school buses, or playing after school.


“We have manhole covers bubbling out on our streets,” one resident on Round Tree Drive said this morning. “Children are walking in it and it has run onto people’s lawns. I have called twice and don’t know what else to do. They put a sign up about contaminated water at pump station. This morning there were two more trucks there pumping and the manhole covers are bubbling again.”

Flagler Schools was made aware of sanitary sewer overflows within Palm Coast, the district said in a release it issued this afternoon. “City officials are working to identify these areas and will communicate with Flagler Schools of specific areas impacted. They have advised us some school bus stops may be affected,” the district said.

City crews are working to clean up these areas as well as disinfect them. This includes the use of lime. “If you see lime, which looks like white flour, on the ground and/or a sign that reads ‘Possible Contaminated Water,’ avoid that area,” a city release stated. The district intends to reinforce the cautions with students on a street by street basis, whenever it is notified of problem areas, while bus drivers have been tasked to pay close attention to such problem areas at bus stops. If there is an area of concern at a stop which has not yet been adjusted, the drivers always have the option to roll stops to drier, safer areas.

The city is advising the public not to work or play in standing water or to wade through it. The swales are very full right now, and some PEP tanks are under water. After heavy rains, standing stormwater is full of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, oils/greases from roads and dog poo. In areas where manholes are (or were) bubbling up on a flooded road, that stormwater might contain domestic wastewater (sewage from flushed toilets), as well.

In addition, the city is asking all residents to limit the amount of water going down the drain over the next few days. Flush toilets less frequently, limit showers, do only essential laundry and keep dish-washing to a minimum. Reducing the amount of water going down the drain will help avoid additional sewer overflows in streets and yards, backups into homes and discharges into water bodies.

After weekend rains that dumped up to 14 inches on the region, rain has continued to drench the county in the middle of the week, with another 4.5 inches reported in west Palm Coast on Wednesday, 2.4 inches reported in east and central Palm Coast, and 2.8 inches in northwest Palm Coast, according to Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management’s weather specialist.

Last Sunday, Palm Coast’s sewer system was overwhelmed with 14 million gallons of water, twice what it could handle. One of the reasons you see sprinklers activated in Town Center and elsewhere, even as it rains, is because the city’s wastewater utility is essentially draining that excess water–what it calls re-use water–through those means, instead of duping it into the Intracoastal Waterway. “Our medians, many of them are re-use, our golf courses, and U.S. 1 is one of those that was actually designed to be a discharge for treated wastewater,” Jim Landon, the Palm Coast city manager, said on WNZF’s Free For All Fridays this morning, “and it takes days for the plant to actually recover because you have a lot of that rainwater getting into the pipes.”

Some 15 to 17 tanker trucks have been pumping water out of lift stations for days to relieve pressure on the sewer system.

It’s also why you see that pipe vomiting water in Town Center: it’s intentional, and it’s helping to drain the system. “It’s not drinkable, but in my opinion you could probably play in it,” Landon said of that re-use water. “It is at that step where we could actually put it in our water treatment plant and make it drinkable.”

Flagler County has been hit by unprecedented amounts of rain over the last couple of weeks and more rain may be in the forecast this weekend. Stops in the western portion of Flagler County have already been moved. Transportation officials will be monitoring the roads and bus stops throughout the weekend and should any additional changes be made, they will be announced on the district’s website, flaglerschools.com and its social media accounts.

“As always, we ask parents to speak with their children about safety at their bus stops and why it’s important to be aware of their surroundings as temporary changes may impact a particular stop,” the district said.

Customers who experience sewage backup in their homes or a PEP tank alarm going off should call Palm Coast Customer Service at 386-986-2360.

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18 Responses for “Sewer Water Bubbling Out At Bus Stops Alarming Parents and School District”

  1. Dave says:

    Palm Coast doesn’t even have a working sewer system. But they almost spent $200,000.00 on a sign, palm coast is so screwed over by its police and officials it’s really really scary.

  2. Chris A Pickett says:

    Maybe they can get to it soon, they’re still haggling over the over-pass signage. If they happen to come by though, ask them when they’ll be picking up all the yard waste, from the Irma,…..A MONTH AGO.

  3. Alphonso Zeimers says:

    Let’s build thousands more houses so that we can overwhelm the sewer system even when we don’t have any rain. Then we can raise taxes through the roof for a whole new sewer system and mega treatment plant.

  4. Wishful Thinking says:

    Inexcusable poor planning and crappy development destroying the quality of life and risking the health of the innocent trusting people who bought homes entrenched literally in the long term results of incompetency and greed. My heart goes out to these people – very sad. The current Palm Coast government will have to pay for the past….

  5. mark101 says:

    “”Let’s build thousands more houses so that we can overwhelm the sewer system” that appears to be the cities and counties plan. Its all about those taxes and the dollar and heck with the residents when it does flood. More homes equal no lots for the water to soak in and that equals flooding. Poor planning and poor leadership in the city and the county. .

  6. Bonnie says:

    Don’t bother calling if your Pep Tank Alarm is going off! THEY DO NOT SHOW UP FOR 2 DAYS! 7 calls, and 3 of those were to the Flagler Sheriff’s Office. The motor was bad, system could NOT be silenced, it literally screamed for 2 days!!! City of Palm Coast is a JOKE

  7. Jim Connors says:

    Our house has been flooded with sewer water on 3 different occasions. Tremendous damage to the interior of our home. The lift station actually pumps sewer water into the house. The city knows the lift station is defective and needs to be rebuilt / replaced. They have made stop gap repairs to this station all week. This is a disgusting situation and needs to be addressed NOW.

  8. Yourstruly says:

    Disgusting place!!! It’s sickening

  9. Sw says:

    The door wont hit me in the Azz on the way out

  10. Jim Connors says:

    Today is the first day this week that we woke up to a normal sounding morning. No sewer lift station alarm screaming, no man hole cover bouncing in the air, clanging and banging, and the smell of untreated sewerage was hardly noticeable. I wonder how long this situation would take to be repaired if it was next to Landon’s or Holland’s house ? My house has been destroyed because of this failing lift station. And these failed “leaders”. Not an email or call from either explaining what will be done about it.

  11. Sherry says:

    Everyone knows that storm drains/sewers do not contain sewerage from homes and businesses. . . right?

  12. Jim Connors says:

    Everyone knows that there are 2 waste water systems. One for surface water, rain, run-off etc. The other is the sanitary sewer system, it is for sewerage from homes, businesses,. When the street drainage,surface water, gets into the sanitary system that system is not able to pump that much excess water. Therefore sewer water, not surface water can back-ups into homes. When the pump / lift stations fail sewer water rises up and comes out where ever it can,ie man holes. This is especially true when you have a malfunctioning lift station that actually pumps the sewerage back into homes or runs into the street, sidewalks or swales. That’s the situation I have. This particular lift station needs extensive repair or replacement.

  13. john dolan says:

    Up from the ground comes the bubb’lin crude, sewage that is.

  14. Joe A says:

    A few years back I remember Netts and Landon bragging in the media how great the system was! What happened?

  15. Amazed but not Surprised says:

    Amazing.. Rain stop response to PEP alarms….

    Only in Palm Corruption..

    Just went by the pumping station on Clubhouse and we have not one, but two idling trucks in the driveway.
    Off PC Parkway are another two contracted pumpers…

    Really … PEP alarms all over and we have people idling in the hideaway station.
    Get your act together PC..

  16. Paul Pasternak says:

    At least it seems that most of us have the joy of living in an open sewer. Landon, if you had any balls, you’d come over to my house and “play” in my swale and demonstrate how safe this “water” is. Then again, it would just cost the taxpayers more money for your healthcare costs, and you certainly wouldn’t want to waste money.

  17. mike d says:

    All the people that are complaining, should look at the roads they drove in on and drive right back out, there are far worse places to live.
    This area has been drenched the last couple of weeks, suck it up or leave, but PLEASE stop you complaining

  18. Bonnie says:

    Today, City of Palm Morons decided that it was a GREAT idea to flush fire hydrants in Seminole Woods, where the Swales are STILL FULL AND OVERFLOWING, and numerous Pep Tank Alarms are STILL going off. They haven’t dug out the swales ONE time in the last 5 years …. they were full BEFORE Irma! Numerous complaints, they are doing NOTHING. When I contacted them, I was told that they “Obviously we’re very sensitive to not adding water to an already saturated ground and drainage system”. How sensitive are they really when they are flowing HUNDREDS of gallons of water into the street, filling the swales even more!?!?!?! And, my Pep Tank alarm started going off again. They are a JOKE

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