St. Petersburg, Fla. --The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is coming down on the city of St. Petersburg, with a $1,000 fine and a threat of fines of $10,000 a day if it doesn’t comply with an order from the department. The FDEP is also forcing the city to consider the feasibility of reopening the Albert Whitted Sewage treatment plant.
The draft consent order comes the same day that the city of St. Petersburg was blasted in a Whistle Blower letter for ignoring a consultant’s recommendation that could have prevented sewage dumps and spills in the city. The consultant made recommendations that steps be taken to increase capacity at the city’s Southwest Sewage treatment plant before closing Whitted, but it never happened.
The consent order notes the millions of gallons of unpermitted discharges the city was responsible for in both 2015 and 2016. The DEP is forcing the city to increase its sewage treatment capacity at remaining plants and present an explanation of why it would decide not to reopen Whitted.
FDEP hasn’t come up with firm dates it wants the work done. The City made a proposal to have completed construction of additional sewage capabilities by October of 2020.