Gulfport, Florida -- All of this rain is starting to impact critical systems. And 10Investigates has discovered it means raw sewage is flowing into Clam Bayou in Gulfport.
It happened last August, it's happening now and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is dodging questions about what is going on.
10Investigates first uncovered the city of St. Petersburg dumped thousands of gallons of sewage last year into Clam Bayou and has found it happening again.
After that report, the mayor promised it would never happen again.
Now Kriseman is reluctant to admit what his own public works director told us about this environmental problem. The mayor and his senior staff were all at Clam Bayou as we drove up,
First we asked St. Petersburg’s new Public Works Director Claude Tankersley. “Is there any raw sewage going into Clam Bayou?"
He admitted, ”There appears to be some sewage that went in right over there,” he said while pointing to a canal that runs into the bayou.
10Investigates told Tankersley that before he came to the city, the mayor said there wouldn't be raw sewage going into Clam Bayou again.
Tankersley replied, “We had an extremely unusual event that happened yesterday."
But despite the fact the area around the bayou is being roped off and there are signs up warning the surface is contaminated, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman posted on Facebook Monday night that there was no sewage overflow. And he had nothing to say to upset people who live in Gulfport.
“Upset in Gulfport about?” the mayor said. When we said, raw sewage in Clam Bayou, he said, “My understanding that's not an issue this go round."
But before we could ask another question, Kriseman's chief of staff and PR head stepped in saying Tankersley never said there was raw sewage going into the bayou. The tried to block 10Investigates from asking Kriseman another question.
When pressed on and he was asked, “You are saying there is no raw sewage going in the bayou?”
Kriseman replied, “I think Claude answered the question."
10Investigates turned to Tankersley and repeated what he just told us in earshot of the mayor regarding the sewer overflowing and the fact and there could be raw sewage running into Clam Bayou.
“Did you not just say that?” we asked Tankersley. “Mike stop the baiting stuff don’t we already have the answer on tape? Just use that."
And once again this is what Tankersley said on tape when asked if the raw sewage went into the bayou. “ We know it got into the canal so we assume it may have gotten into the bayou.”
Sources in the water department say the problem each time is because of the elimination of one of the water treatment plants. A few years ago the city decided to go from four to three to save millions of dollars.