St. Petersburg Struggling to Keep its Sewage out of its Bays
Charlie Frago writes of a recurring problem in St. Petersburg, Florida: rains overwhelming the city's wastewater system and sending millions of gallons of "untreated and partially treated sewage gushing into the waters of Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay…"
Three-and-a-half million gallons of the previously described sewage overflowed the system in August 2015, prompting promises from elected officials that it wouldn't happen again. Yet along came Tropical Storm Colin in June 2016, causing "9.8 million of gallons of sewage — estimated to be 30 to 50 percent untreated sewage — [to spill] into the bay."
Frago critiques the efforts of the city to prevent ongoing sewage mishaps, summing up his assessment up with these excoriating words: "St. Petersburg had options. But the option officials chose was to do nothing." The feature-length article digs into the details of how the plan hatched after last August's storms fell short, and the additional measures that have since been added on to the city's stormwater emergency plans. For instance, the city is currently "conducting an 18-month study to determine where it needs to fix the leaky pipes that fill with rainwater during a storm, increasing the volume of waste that flows into the sewer plants."