Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant

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MainStreetSewagePlant.jpg

The Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant is an 18-acre sewage treatment facility operated by the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority. Dating back to 1937, it is located north of Main Street between Clubbs and De Villiers Streets, and its proximity to Pensacola Bay makes it extremely vulnerable to storms. After sustaining serious damage from a 15-foot storm surge during Hurricane Ivan, the resulting three-day outage energized discussions to move the plant. The estimated $300 million cost of such a move (ameliorated by a $134 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has caused a great deal of controversy, and the plant was often cited in the debate over the Community Maritime Park. A 330-acre site off Chemstrand Road, formerly owned by Solutia, was chosen as the new site of the plant.

History[edit]

The Main Street plant was one of two constructed between 1935-1937, the other located on 9th Avenue at Intendencia Street. The sites were chosen for their low elevation, a requirement of the era's gravity-powered sewer system. Both plants provided only "primary treatment" — that is, separating solids from liquids — before depositing the waste into Pensacola Bay. This remained the case even after a major expansion in the 1950s.

The 9th Avenue plant, the source of many complaints by visitors to the nearby Admiral Mason Park, was shut down in the in the mid-60s, replaced with a force main to redirect sewage to the newly-expanded Main Street plant. It was formally dedicated the Central Sewage Treatment Plant by the City of Pensacola in 1968.

The plant received a $20 million expansion in the 1970s that more than doubled its maximum capacity to the current 20 million gallons. Management was taken over by the ECUA in 1981.

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