Water-Related News

St. Pete not alone in discharging sewage into local waters during TS Colin

It's not just St. Petersburg: Largo had big sewage spill during Tropical Storm Colin, too

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman got plenty of raspberries from the public after his city dumped nearly 10 million gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay after Tropical Storm Colin passed through early this month.

But St. Petersburg wasn't the only city whose wastewater systems couldn't handle the foot of rain dropped by the storm.

  • Tampa dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage into the Hillsborough River.
  • Clearwater had minor spills into Stevenson Creek.
  • Gulfport dumped at least 50,000 gallons of sewage from popped manhole covers into Boca Ciega Bay.
  • St. Pete Beach also dumped 331,000 gallons into Boca Ciega Bay.

  • The cities reported their spills, as required by law, to the Department of Environmental Protection, the same agency that is investigating St. Petersburg's dumps. The final tallies could change.

    Largo, though, had the biggest spill outside of St. Petersburg on June 7 when rainwater-engorged sewer flow led to at least 4 million gallons of partially treated sewage spilling from its wastewater treatment plant on 150th Avenue N near the Pinellas County Jail.

    The sewage had been allowed to settle, was aerated and filtered twice, but not disinfected before it spilled into Cross Bayou and eventually into Tampa Bay. Tests showed initial levels of bacteria about 50 times safe levels.

    Irvin Kety, the city's environmental services director, said a similar event happened during last August's heavy rains. The city is spending $80 million to fix its leaky pipes and install upgrades, including more storage capacity, at its sewer plant.