UPDATE: The swimming advisory for Watson Bayou has been lifted. The water samples taken from Watson Bayou and St. Andrews Bay on November 15, 2023 show the water is clear.
The addresses of the sample sites are 218 and 730 Bunkers Cove Road, 247 Cove Terrace Lane, 1300 E. 3rd Street, and 1 Harrison Avenue. The City of Panama Coty’s Environmental Laboratory performed all testing according to FDEP approved standards and procedures.
A Swimming Advisory is in effect for Watson Bayou.
On November 13, 2023, the contractor for the Cherry Street Infrastructure Improvement Project inadvertently broke the sewer line at the intersection of Cherry Street and N. Marie Drive. As a result of the broken line, an estimated 913,000 gallons of sewage spilled from the line. The City of Panama City’s Utilities Division utilized five vacuum trucks and dirt barriers to contain most of the sewage during the repair process; however, sewage did enter storm drains which discharge into Watson Bayou. The sewer line has been successfully repaired and is scheduled to be fully replaced as part of the infrastructure project.
The broken sewer line also led to discharges at Lift Station #81 on Corto Street and Lift Station #85 on S. Cove Lane. An estimated 150,000 gallons of sewage spilled from the lift stations with a majority of the total volume entering storm drains which discharge to Watson Bayou.
The City’s Environmental Compliance Division has reported the Sanitary Sewer Overflows to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The City’s Environmental Laboratory is performing all testing according to FDEP approved standards and procedures.
The contractor will be responsible for costs incurred as a result of the incident.