Naples 2020 stormwater project to remove drainage pipes on beaches

Writer: Jack Lowenstein

You’ve seen them. They’re hard not to notice — giant steal pipes stick out across beaches in Naples. They dump stormwater from the drain right where people swim, but that may change.

The City of Naples plans to get to get rid of these utility pipes with a new stormwater project hopeful for 2020.

“The whole point of this project to help improve the flooding situation and doing our best possible job to clean up the stormwater before it gets discharged into the Gulf and changing where the discharge occurs where people are swimming,” said Greg Strakal, Naples Streets and Stormwater Department director.

This plan would eliminate the eyesores for frequent beachgoers.

“They’re pretty unsightly actually, especially when the tides out,” John Manion said.

The pipes can often be spotted on Naples Beach multiple times a week.

“I like to sit at the beach and read and just enjoy the sunshine and listen to the waves, the music the waves make,” Manion said.

When Manion goes for long walks, he’s bound to see more than one set of pipes. There are six sections in about a mile span, but they do serve a purpose.

“I guess it would be nice if they removed them, but I think it’s probably a necessary evil,” Manion said.

They collect stormwater and dump it out into the gulf to help drainage along streets like Gulf Shore Boulevard. Often, garbage and bacteria stream out right next to where people swim.

“Obviously it’s not a good thing,” Lisa Venn said. “I’m all for the environment and taking care of our planet.”

Designs for the Naples stormwater project are a long way from completion. The city hopes construction can begin sometime in 2020.

“That sounds like a great idea if they can get that done,” Manion said.

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