Pinellas Wastewater/Stormwater Task Force presented with preliminary action plan
The second countywide Wastewater/Stormwater Task Force meeting was held on Monday, Jan. 30, at St. Petersburg College Seminole campus, with the Technical Working Group—a body comprised of 17 technical representatives from utility agencies within Pinellas County—presenting the Task Force Steering Committee members with its findings and recommendations to reduce wastewater overflow issues around the County.
The Initial Action Plan included an analysis of the events that led to the recent overflow situation during Hurricane Hermine and provided recommended approaches to avoiding future sanitary sewer overflows, including:
- Increasing wastewater treatment capacity at appropriate levels
- Increasing wastewater storage capacity at appropriate levels
- Reducing inflow and infiltration of stormwater and groundwater into the separate sanitary sewer system
The Technical Working Group’s recommendation merged the three solutions into a cohesive plan of action to reduce the greatest cause of inundation of the system—inflow and infiltration of stormwater and groundwater into the sanitary sewer system—at the same time, incrementally increasing treatment capacity and/or storage capacity where applicable or appropriate.
Additionally, the technical working group recommends implementing a countywide public dialogue program to increase education outreach and citizen engagement.
The Wastewater/Stormwater Task Force formed last year to address countywide wastewater and stormwater issues brought about by heavy rainfall events. The countywide team is comprised of leaders and staff from Pinellas County Government, 17 municipal partners and three private utility systems.
In response to the common goals established at the first Task Force meeting, the Technical Working Group has been meeting over the last three months to evaluate each utility system’s status in regards to rehabilitation and replacement projects that are underway and/or planned, collaborate on common approaches to remediate system-wide issues and discuss detailed future mitigation plans to avoid sanitary sewer overflows during extreme weather events.
Leaders and staff will continue to meet and track progress of the various joint initiatives.