Raw sewage pouring into Clam Bayou from an overflowing manhole is continuing to outrage many over the way the City of St. Petersburg handled the situation.
The city's water treatment plants could not handle all the sewage following the rain dumped by Tropical Storm Colin. That resulted in a system overload and sewage coming out of the manhole.
10Investigates broke this story Tuesday. Now, we are learning officials in both St. Petersburg and Gulfport where Clam Bayou is located say the situation wasn't handled well.
While Tuesday's problem was mechanical and not as onerous as last August when St. Pete dumped the sewage into the Bayou, many are not happy.
The discharge of St. Pete's raw sewage from a manhole into Clam Bayou is causing a major stink in the City of Gulfport.
Gulfport city council member Yolanda Roman is irate. “They said never again will they discharge into Clam Bayou."
Roman is also upset that St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman denies what his public works director admits -- raw sewage was discharged.
On Tuesday when asked about the raw sewage in the Bayou, Kriseman said, “My understanding is that's not an issue this go round."
That was in direct conflict with the city’s Public Works Director Claude Tankersley who was standing three feet from the mayor when we asked, “Is there any raw sewage that is going into Clam Bayou?”
Tankersley pointed to a canal about 15 feet away and said, "There appears to be some that went in right over there."
Tankersley went on to explain because the canal runs into the bayou, the assumption is the raw sewage went into the bayou as well.
Roman is also irritated St. Pete officials didn't contact Gulfport.
“Do I sound a little bit angry?” Roman asked. “Perhaps. I should not find out what is happening in the City of Gulfport through your news crew. That's how I found out.”
But St. Pete council member Karl Nurse says there seems to be reluctance by the mayor and his administration to be honest with the public whether it comes to the problems at Clam Bayou, or fixing the aging and inadequate sewer system.
Nurse told us, “I think the public can see the truth and can handle the truth.”
According Nurse, the City needs to spend $100 million to fix the system. He believes the $6 million from the BP oil settlement is better spent on sewers than the mayor's feel good projects.
“The sewer system cries out that we have to get started in a bigger way fast ,” Nurse says.
Many in Gulfport, including Yolanda Roman, agree.
“This is the first storm of 2016,” Roman reminded us. “A short storm. Tell me what happens if we have a 10-day rain event?”
In addition to the Clam Bayou problem, the city did dump partially-treated sewage water from the Albert Whitted Plant into Tampa Bay. But remember, they did have a permit allowing this, an emergency like it experienced this week.