Water-Related News

Crews from St. Pete help Bradenton clean up sewage spill

ST. PETERSBURG — When Bradenton public works crews found themselves overwhelmed by a sewage spill Friday, the city's public works department joined with other nearby crews to help clean up the spill.

It all started Thursday when a contractor mistakenly broke a sanitary sewer force main — the pipeline that conveys wastewater.

City of Bradenton crews mobilized to suck up the spills and convey the wastewater to its treatment plant. However, by Friday morning, it was clear the job was too big for the city crews, said Jim Martin with Bradenton Public Works. So they put out the call for help.

Martin said they received assistance from about half a dozen counties, including Manatee, Charlotte and Hillsborough.

The city of St. Petersburg sent a pair of vactor truck crews to assist, said public works spokesman Bill Logan. These trucks have pumps and tanks that are designed to suck up liquids, sludge and sewage.

"We're in this together," St. Petersburg Water Resources Director John Palenchar said. "We're all there to help."

Crews vacuumed waste water and transferred the sewage to non-damaged pipes. Some sewage seeped into storm drains, but it's not clear at this point how much.

Despite the consequences of the spill, Martin said Friday was an example of how cleanups should work — a group of teams coming together to clear the scene as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"We all work for the same people, the public," Martin said. "That's the way it should be."