ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported a sewage spill by the thousands that spilled into Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg Beach.
Around 10 a.m., Sunday, St. Petersburg Water crews responded to a water main leak near Central Avenue and 79th Street South, not far from Treasure Island.
Once crews arrived, they found a sanitary sewer force main leaking from a pipe that had broken off the ground, St. Pete Beach officials report. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage was released into a storm drain and Boca Ciega Bay.
St. Pete Beach city leaders said there are several wastewater force mains in that section of the roadway belonging to St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and the City of St. Petersburg so it wasn't immediately known who had ownership of the broken pipe. The cities were immediately called to investigate the situation and it was later determined to be owned by the city of St. Pete Beach.
Around 1:30 p.m., the city of St. Petersburg personnel used a wooden plug and strapping to stop the spill, authorities say.
A St. Petersburg Vac-truck was used to recover wastewater, in addition to chemicals used for disinfectant. St. Petersburg city officials estimate about 70,500 gallons of wastewater were discharged into Boca Ciega Bay. They were able to recover about 24,000 gallons of wastewater from the spill.
At this time, signage has been posted throughout the area of the leak and the city of St. Petersburg will take initial samples and continue to sample the surface waters of Boca Ciega Bay that were impacted by the leak until the samples pass.
Repairs are still in the works for the broken pipe.
"City of St. Pete Beach has issued an emergency repair work request with the City’s emergency response contractor, Rowland, Inc., to assess the location for a permanent repair to prevent additional discharge," according to the city of St. Pete Beach.