Sewage in the water. Our 10Investigation continues into the spill into Clam Bayou. Now officials are calling for action!
Since Monday's storm, the city dumped 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay. That's in addition to the raw sewage spilled into Clam Bayou.
Now, 10Investigates -- which uncovered the spill -- found out a state representative is calling for an investigation into St. Petersburg.
State Representative Kathleen Peters is suspicious that St. Petersburg has not kept up with the growth in the area and that not enough has been spent to expand the sewer system in St. Pete. Peters believes the Department of Environmental Protection investigation will show because of the lack of sewer facility and water treatment expansion, the problems this week and that past years were inevitable.
Those problems include:
- 57,000 gallons of raw sewage in Clam Bayou
- 8.5 million gallons of partially treated sewage dumped into Tampa Bay
- 15 million gallons of raw sewage dumped into Clam Bayou in August of 2015
Peters says, “That's why we are contacting the secretary, that is exactly why."
In a letter to Florida DEP Secretary Jon Steverson, Peters says she is convinced St. Petersburg’s perceived inaction on the issue has made for a potential environmental and health disaster.
In addition Peters explains, “I have grave concerns that they have not expanded the infrastructure to meet the growth in Pinellas County.”
But the City is saying it was hit with an unusually heavy rain event and that partially-treated sewage coming out of the Albert Whitted Treatment Plant has much less fecal coliform than raw sewage does.
And to put this in perspective, nine teaspoons of fecal coliform would close a public pool. What the city of St. Petersburg is doing with the treated sewage is putting the equivalent of two one-gallon jugs of human waste into that same pool. That is something most folks would never dream of taking a dip in.
Marc Levasseure who was at Demons Landing where there are signs along the waterfront warning not to go into the water says, ”It's kind of sad, but hopefully it will clean up.”
Meanwhile, St. Pete council member Karl Nurse says the problem has been years in the making. According to Nurse, “There are a long string of administrations that have tried to kick the can down the road, but there is no road left. This is the time we have to face the music.”
Nurse says it will cost a minimum $100 million and 10 years to fix the aging sewer treatment system,
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg didn't comment on the call for the investigation, saying only it has been in constant contact with the DEP and says if Peters can come up with a way to help fund the project, they will be happy to improve.