Water-Related News

Wastewater treatment plant repairs from Hurricane Hermine still costing Clearwater

It has been six months since Hurricane Hermine blew through Tampa Bay, but city coffers are still feeling her wrath.

Flood water from the Category 1 storm overwhelmed the Marshall Street wastewater treatment plant the night of Sept. 1 and leaked into the dry pit that houses the pumps and electrical station, causing a mechanical failure.

Crews worked overnight to install a temporary pumping system and had all overflow contained within three days, but ultimately 29 million gallons of a rainwater and sewage mixture poured into Clearwater Harbor, with another 3 million gallons spilling into Old Tampa Bay.

The temporary pumping system has stayed in place ever since while utility department officials determined the exact cause of the failure and best replacement options. Payment of the first bill for equipment rental and electrical work, covering September through January, was approved by the City Council last week.

The damage? A whopping $1.3 million.

Public Utilities Director David Porter said he expects the city to incur about $175,000 more in rental charges per month until installation of a new system is completed by July.