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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas swallows nearly $300,000 state fine

In just a few minutes, the Pinellas County Commission dispatched a state fine Tuesday of nearly $300,000 for violations at the South Cross Bayou wastewater plant in St. Petersburg.

Under the consent order approved 6-0 -- Commissioner Karen Seel is on vacation -- the county will pay $64,000 in volations and do in-kind utility projects to make up the rest.

The plant had more than 200 violations between 2007 and 2010. It's had a history of fines by the state and federal environmental agencies since the 1990s. The only commissioner to ask a question was Nancy Bostock, who asked for a simple explanation of the seriousness of the problems.

Kevin Becote, the incoming utilities director as Tom Crandall retires this week, said the county never violated fecal coliform or other standards for Boca Ciega Bay, which the plant feeds. Most of its discharge goes into reclaimed water, and he said most of the violations occurred within the plant's systems.

State officials have said there were violations in Joe's Creek, though. Nitrogen, phosphorous and chlorine levels were too high.

The fines will be paid with utility revenue.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:36pm]


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