Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

  Round two of frigid weather in the Florida Panhandle closely resembles that from a couple of weeks ago. But there is some light, and warmth, at the end of the tunnel.

Precipitation from the southernmost reaches of Winter Storm Inga led to a number of closings in northwest Florida the past couple of days: schools, roads, bridges and overpasses. Meteorologist Jeff Huffman at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network says the silver lining is that the rest of the winter mix is tracking to the north and east.

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

About 100,000 gallons of partially-treated effluent that discharged into Santa Rosa Sound is being considered some of Hurricane Nate’s handiwork.

“We talk about it being ‘the beach plant’ but we actually have two plants located there, side-by-side,” said ECUA spokeswoman Nathalie Bowers. “To serve as redundancy should we have any issues at the plant.”

The release -- from Plant Number-1 at the utility’s Pensacola Beach Water Reclamation Facility -- involved water that had undergone secondary level treatment,

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

Water, water everywhere in south Florida, but not a lot of it to drink. The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is lending a hand, part of the assistance coming from the Florida Panhandle.

ECUA Executive Director Steve Sorrell says a mutual response team has been organized, acting on a request from the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) for lift station and maintenance crews to help with that city’s wastewater system.

ECUA

Water and sewer customers with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority could be shelling out more for those services in the near future.

When the board overseeing the agency meets on Thursday, it’s expected to take up a proposed capital improvement fee, $5 per month, to pay for upgrading water and sewer lines throughout the service area.

Lois Benson chairs the ECUA Board.  

Twenty-one residents and three businesses in the North Hill area of Pensacola are suing Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, over plans to build sewage storage tanks on North Palafox Street property.

Plaintiff attorney Erick Mead says the lawsuit carries three basic courses of action – first, a motion for a temporary injunction, possibly as soon as mid-April.

ECUA

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is considering raising rates next year.

During a unanimous vote last week, the ECUA Board approved a 3% hike in water and wastewater rates, and 3.5% for sanitation. If it gains final approval as early as next month, residential water bills would go up about $3.44, depending on usage.

Board member Lois Benson says the increases are aimed at higher tipping fees at Escambia County's Perdido Landfill, and upgrading infrastructure – the deficiencies of which were evident during the storms and flooding in late April.