MARY ESTHER — About 80,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Silver Sands Creek after a lightning strike damaged the control panel at a wastewater treatment plant, city officials said.
The strike also damaged the plant’s alarm system, which would have notified officials earlier of the Sunday morning spill.
The spill was discovered at about 8:30 a.m. Monday and diverted by emergency bypass to another pump by about 9:15 a.m., according to an official who reported the spill to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Roger Batts, who supervises a water/sewer company that contracts with the city, said a storm that moved through the area Sunday morning is believed to have caused the problem. The spill entered the stormwater system and caused an environmental impact, according to the DEP.
Mary Esther Mayor Chris Stein said crews placed sanitizing powdered lime around a lift station by Hollywood Boulevard where the stormwater overflowed. The overflow will eventually make its way into Santa Rosa Sound, he said.
“The good news is that with all of this heavy rain, it’s pretty much diluted,” Stein said.
He added that the treatment plant’s alarm system has been replaced.