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Monday, June 24, 2024

Sewage-spill sign near Surge Area causes stink on campus

In a less-traveled corner of the UF campus, something smelled funny. A sign that read “SEWAGE SPILL AREA/DO NOT ENTER/STAY OUT OF WATER” was removed from the side of Surge Area Drive last week, according to UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes.

However, she said, the most recent spills in that area of campus happened in the Fall, and there haven’t been any since.

Surge Area Drive runs between Archer Road and Hull Road in the southwest corner of campus, winding by Steinmetz Hall — the entomology and nematology department — and Donald R. Dizney Lacrosse Stadium near the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts . The sign was at the Archer Road end near a wooded area.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection records confirm about 5,000 gallons of wastewater did in fact spill near the sign’s location Oct. 17, and there was an earlier spill of about 3,000 gallons much closer to the sign Sept. 11.

Gainesville Regional Utilities spokesman Dan Jesse was only made aware of the sign recently, and he said he thought it was hard to believe it had been left there since October.

“If there was a sign, and none of our people noticed it, someone just forgot to take it down, I guess,” Jesse said.

Sikes said the Physical Plant Division told her it was unaware of the sign as well and removed it after an inquiry about this story.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines wastewater as “the spent or used water from a home, community, farm, or industry that contains dissolved or suspended matter,” which can include raw sewage.

Contact Matt Riva at

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