PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WTSP) – After the excess rains from Hurricane Hermine drowned roads and homes throughout Pasco County and helped send sewage spilling into the streets, commissioner Jack Mariano decided there needed to be a fix for the long overdue problems that have caused residents headaches for so many years.
At Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Mariano plans to ask the rest of the board to approve installing hardline pipes underground between multiple retention ponds to help with drainage and alleviate flooding.
One of the problem areas is at a retention pond near the area of Ironbark Drive and Glover Road in Port Richey. The retention pond often spills out into the streets after heavy summer rains, so a tropical storm or hurricane increases the flooding tenfold.
Mariano hopes to put two pipes at that pond at a cost of $20,000 each, a price much cheaper than officials originally estimated. “The initial thoughts were it was going to cost about $2 million. When we actually dove down to the simpler solution, much less expensive,” said Mariano, who added that the county has $2 million in reserves, money that could go towards these projects.
"It's something that should be a priority. We're still in the hurricane season. We're going to be here for a bit more,” said Mariano. “I could leave these pumps that you see above ground staying on the ground, or I can actually get the solution fixed and put the hard pipes in, which would be a better solution for everybody."
Mariano is also working to fix problems at an FGUA wastewater plant on Ranch Road, which leaked sewage into the streets after the hurricane. “What happens is the effluent water mixes with the storm water, and that works its way out to the Gulf of Mexico, which is a nasty situation. It’s bad for all the water that gets polluted, contaminated all the way around. It’s something that needs to get fixed.”
His solution is to work with the Florida Department of Environment Protection, parks and storm water departments to turn the plant into a park that could also double as a place to hold excess water.
“If we do that, it will serve 7,500 residents and improve the area dramatically,” said Mariano.
There is no word yet on how much it would cost to convert the plant.
Commissioners could decide at Monday’s meeting if they will approve money for adding pipes in the retention ponds.
Emerald Morrow is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at email@example.com.
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