Florida Keys

Crews fix sewage pipe break that slowed Keys traffic Thursday

A Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District sewage treatment plant.
A Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District sewage treatment plant. Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District

A sewage pipe that burst in the Upper Keys Thursday afternoon, slowing traffic in the Key Largo area, was fixed around 9:30 p.m. that night.

The force main takes wastewater from the Village of Islamorada to a treatment plant at mile marker 101.5 operated by the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District as part of an inter-local agreement. It is the second time since March that the pipe burst in basically the same area.

Islamorada wastewater utility officials did not immediately respond to questions about why the pipe, which is about four years old, keeps breaking. The $90-million wastewater infrastructure was put in to comply with a state mandate that all the Keys be on sewers by 2015.

The pipe broke around 1 p.m., according to a notice from Islamorada. Mary Swaney, the village’s spokeswoman, said crews fixed it at 9:30 p.m., and the sewage system was restarted shortly before 11 p.m.

While crews worked on the line, northbound traffic on U.S. 1 was limited to one lane, worrying residents and local officials preparing for heavy traffic over the Memorial Day weekend.

The break also prompted Islamorada officials to request village residents not use the shower or laundry while workers moved to fix the line.

Pump trucks drew wastewater from the Plantation Key transfer station, about two miles south of where the pipe broke, and transported it to the Key Largo plant while crews worked to fix the break, Swaney said.

Cape Coral Police helped with the removal of an alligator after someone heard hissing coming from a sewer on May 15, 2019. They say no one was hurt during the process. Police posted the body cam video on May 17.