BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A broken valve resulted in hundreds of gallons of sewage spilling in Satellite Beach late Sunday, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
County repair workers responded to the air release valve break near Cassia Boulevard and South Patrick Drive around 10 p.m., according to Brevard County spokesman Don Walker.
Approximately 1,000 gallons of sewage spilled into canals that feed into the Banana River before workers could stop the leak, according to a state report. The valve was repaired by Monday morning, Walker said.
The state government report said approximately 2,000 gallons in total spilled as a result of the break, with 1,000 gallons going into the waterway, 500 gallons of sewage being cleaned up and another 500 unaccounted for.
County protocol when sewage spills occur is to notify the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health. Those agencies will investigate the circumstances of the spill and potentially fine Brevard County, according to Walker.
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in sewage are known to contribute to algae blooms that kill seagrass and disrupt the lagoon's delicate ecosystem, according to the St. Johns Water Management District.
County sewage has come under scrutiny in recent years as spills have polluted the already troubled Indian River Lagoon. Sunday's spill comes after approximately 375,000 gallons spewed from a different Cassia Boulevard pipe last year.
Prompted by frequent sewage spills across the county — such as a 870,000-gallon sewage leak in Titusville last summer — Florida Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, has pushed for harsher penalties for local governments when such events occur.
The bill died in a house committee in May but Fine said he remains committed to cleaning up and protecting the lagoon.
"I'm going to keep fighting for it. We've got to rein in the home rule authority of local governments that don't spend money maintaining their sewage systems," Fine said.
"Clearly many of them don't do the right thing because it's the right thing to do."