ST. PETE BEACH — City officials, citing a pump failure, are asking residents and businesses to hold off on washing clothes and dishes as well as other activities that send water into the sewage system.
A failure Wednesday night at the city's pumping station on 55th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard across from the TradeWinds Island Resort followed a week of heavy storms.
The city manager's office emailed a notice Thursday morning saying the city is coordinating an emergency installation of a bypass pump, which was expected to be completed this evening, and asking the public to curb water use until 5 p.m. today to take pressure off the sewer system.
The notice did not say why the pump failed but said the sanitary sewer pipe system is working at full capacity despite an increased volume of sewage because of the storms.
City Manager Wayne Saunders said in an email that the city did not suffer an overflow or spill.
The pump station has three pumps, one of which had been previously removed for routine overhaul, leaving two pumps to handle the flows. One of those pumps "burned out" Wednesday night, said St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson in an email.
Johnson said a pump station during Monday's unexpected tropical storm experienced a minor sewer overflow of about 250 gallons just north of Gulf Boulevard. He said the spill was cleaned up using pumper trucks and was reported to authorities.
Johnson said the pipe failure was "another indication" that efforts to clean and repair the system were not enough, and that work on two planned sewer lines should move forward. That project, he said was approved in April but is held up because of a lawsuit.