TITUSVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOZX 35) - The City of Titusville put up "no swimming or boating" notices across a riverside neighborhood after the Department of Florida Environmental Protection says 870,000 gallons of raw sewage was released into the Indian River Lagoon.
Titusville City Water department director Sean Stauffer says the leak was caused when an improperly abandoned sewer pipe burst. Stauffer says the old pipe, which is more than 60 years old, was still connected and under pressure after a newer lift station on Indian River Drive was built in 1979.
When a new lift station and sewer line were built, 15 feet of the old sewer line was left connected to the system, and shut off with a valve. Over time, the more than sixty year old pipe finally burst, gushing sewer water into the lagoon, as well as into the backyards of two residents who live next door to the lift station.
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the city is now required to test water quality in the lagoon and post "no swimming and boating" signs along the riverside neighborhood on Indian Drive. The spokesperson said the signs must stay up until the water testing comes back negative for fecal coli form bacteria.
The Indian River Lagoon has been deemed a body of water in crisis by Brevard County, and residents here are taxed a half cent sales tax to help fund millions of dollars of ongoing clean up. A massive fish kill happened in the Banana River, which is part of the lagoon, back in 2016.
The city says the sewer leak has been fixed by cutting the old pipe and capping both sides.