Water-Related News

St. Petersburg mayor scoffs at claim that sewage dumps hurt Tampa Bay, endangered public health

Hours after Mayor Rick Kriseman took full responsibility for the city’s sewage crisis, he told the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday that more than 100 million gallons of sewage dumped into Tampa Bay had done no environmental harm or risked public health.

Saying he put his faith in science, Kriseman said no evidence exists that shows the city’s dumping hurt marine life, damaged sea grass or spread dangerous bacteria.

“I’m not aware of any report indicating short- or long-term damage. No reports of any fish kills or algae blooms,” Kriseman said Saturday afternoon, about four hours after concluding his annual state of the city address.

In that address, he vowed to solve the crisis, which totaled about 200 million gallons dumped or spilled into local waterways. He said he took full responsibility for the crisis, which has led to a pending state consent order and probes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

But then the Times contacted former Mayor Bill Foster for his reaction to Kriseman’s speech. Foster asserted that the mayor had “damaged the bay.”