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Report blames underground log in Longboat sewage spill

About 14.7 million gallons of untreated sewage spilled between June 17-30.

The contractor hired by Longboat Key has determined that a buried log rubbing for decades against the underground pipeline likely initiated the corrosion that led to June’s sewage break in mainland Manatee County.

Last week, the town released the 596-page report by Berkeley Research Group.

The report indicates that once excavation workers were at the scene of the spill, about 350 feet from the Sarasota Bay shoreline on June 30, pumps cleared standing water from around the pipe, allowing a clear view of the break.

“At approximately 1315, the pumps were able to expose the damaged section of pipe to the point that I observed a log or root lying perpendicular (across) at a slight angle under the damaged section,'' the report quotes an eyewitness as reporting. “The log was approximately 6 to 8 [inches] around and stretched beyond the width of the pipe. Water was pouring out at the approximate position of the log or root.”

The report postulates that for years after construction, the log or root "was acting as a fulcrum under the pipe'' and "likely abraded the exterior pipe coating, inducing corrosion.''