With months of pipe breaks in Fort Lauderdale, new $65 million project should provide relief

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Usually the installation of new sewer lines isn’t a big story, but for Fort Lauderdale residents it certainly is since many have lost track of the number of sewer main breaks in their neighborhoods since December.

On Friday, Fort Lauderdale’s mayor Dean Trantalis was on hand to activate 1.5 miles of new sewer pipes. It’s part of a $65 million construction project of 7.5 miles of new sewage lines.

The lines will stretch from the 17th Street Causeway under Rio Vista, under Victoria Park, all the way to the Coral Ridge Country Club

The pipes are an upgrade from the old ones, described as less corrosive and more flexible. HDPE pipe also has fewer mechanical joints.

During the numerous breaks, which started in Dec. 10, 2019, 126 millions gallons of raw sewage flooded streets, parks, home decks, and lawns. Most of the sewage wound up in the Tarpon River killing marine life.

The mayor said he is hopeful those days are over.

“We have installed near 23,000 linear feet of new pipe underground,” Trantalis said. “That’s more than half of the entire project.”

The project is more than 60 percent complete, according to Trantalis, and on track to be finished ahead of, what he called, an aggressive schedule that was targeted when the project first began.

The state slapped Fort Lauderdale with a $2 million fine, but in October commissioners agreed to spend $3 million on environmental restoration in lieu of a fine.

Trantalis blamed past administrations for not using utility tax money to restore the pipes sooner and thanked his residents for their patience.

Typically a project of this size and magnitude would have taken more than a year to get shovels in the ground and three years of construction, according to Trantalis.

The mayor says record time for this project is 18 months from beginning to end. He expects the 7.5 miles to be done by August of 2021.

They way to speed up the process is by having having two separate contracting companies working on the lines. One works from south to north and the other from north to south with the idea that they meet in the middle before August 2021.

David Mancini & Sons is installing the southern portion of the line, from the treatment plant to Northeast 8th Street. Murphy Pipeline is installing the northern portion of the line, from Northeast 8th Street to Northeast 37th Street.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.