St. Pete pumping sewage into Tampa Bay
The city is pumping partially-treated sewage into Tampa Bay because its sewer system has been overloaded with rainwater infiltrating into leaky sewer pipes, city officials said about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
City officials said they were foced to pump partially treated sewage from a shuttered sewer plant at Albert Whitted sewage plant around 4 p.m. The sewage will be pumped by a pipe about 1/4 of a mile into the bay.
They couldn't immediately say how much sewage would be pumped into the bay.
Mayor Rick Kriseman's spokesman Ben Kirby said the city's system couldn't handle any more rainwater than is infiltrating sewer pipes in the city's aging system.
Last summer, after three weeks of heavy rain, the city dumped 16.5 million gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into Boca Cieage and Tampa bays.
The actions enraged environmentalists and likely cost former Public Works Administrator Mike Connors his job. The City Council has pressed the administration to free up millions of dollars to fix its beleaguered system. With next year's budget due to be delivered to the council next month, today's dump might reignite calls to spend a larger share of the BP settlement money on sewer repairs.
Kriseman has resisted those efforts, preferring to spend the money on a ferry service to Tampa, a bike share program and helping to replace a marine-science research vessel.
In April, the council approved spendings $3.4 million for a study on how best to fix the city's sewers. The study would be paid for with bond issues, not BP money.