Damages could exceed $500K in utility repair

Posted on September 26, 2018 by Romi White

A 1.5-million pound concrete tank at a Holley-Navarre Water System wastewater treatment facility has floated out of the ground and is not repairable, according to HNWS General Manager Paul Gardner. Early estimates for replacement exceed $500,000.

Gardner on Wednesday told South Santa Rosa News the tank, called a clarifier, is located at the HNWS facility on Pepper Drive in Navarre. He said it had been drained in order for staff to use a camera to investigate an issue with a pipe. 

“After the tank was emptied, it floated more than two feet out of the ground and remains out of the ground this morning,” Gardner said.

Gardner said “something undoubtedly went wrong” with the fail-safe system designed to keep the water pressure from building up around the clarifier. “We’re still looking into what happened.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was notified the clarifier is out of service. However, Gardner said the utility’s capacity isn’t impacted. “We’ve still got plenty of capacity in the plant. It hasn’t impacted treatment.”

Gardner went on to say the situation is “no where near being an emergency” and that no wastewater was discharged during the incident.  Although HNWS has not previously dealt with such an incident, Gardner said it’s not unprecedented and he seems to recall a similar issue taking place at another local water and sewer utility.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can just dig back into the ground. I hope our insurance covers it,” Gardner said.

HNWS President Will Goulet said he wants to question whether or not the scope of the work was procedural and appropriately approved. “We will look into how the incident occurred,” Goulet said.