Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo redesigning sewer system to prevent overflows

LARGO — First came the heavy rainfall: more than 7.5 inches.

Then, the layer of brown muck floating at the top of the pond as sewage overflowed into Golf Lake Condominiums. Before long, birds were swarming around the sewage, and a rank stench filled the air.

"It was like every seagull in Florida was here," resident Patti Allibone said. "We saw fish starting to float to the top."

The city of Largo is redesigning its sewage system to prevent overflows such as the one that occurred July 8 at Golf Lake Condos, but the new system won't be in place until fall 2013, city officials said.

Heavy rainfall in July caused sewage pipes near Golf Lake Condos to overflow into a stormwater pond that lies in the center of the condominium complex on Starkey Road, said Irvin Kety, Largo's environmental services director.

Kety estimates more than 30,000 gallons of sewage were discharged. The city vacuumed 60,000 gallons of water and applied disinfectants to the area, he said.

"That overflow lasted less than 24 hours," Kety said. "In the past, it would have lasted many days."

Under the city's Capital Improvement Plan, Largo plans to design a new pipeline from the west end of the city to its wastewater plant. The project, which includes improvements to existing pump stations, would eliminate sewage overflows, Kety said.

The city is scheduled to finish the $23,500 project by September 2013, Kety said. Although the city cannot eliminate overflows until then, Kety doesn't think Largo will encounter problems as serious as the Golf Lake overflow.

"Until we get the new project completed, we're going to have additional overflows under certain rainfall events," Kety said. "The good news is . . . it takes either a very large storm or a number of days of significant rain."

Golf Lake resident Mary Freeman said she was happy with how the city handled the overflow in July.

"The city was right on the ball," Freeman said.

Freeman, who has lived at Golf Lake for three years, said this was the first time she had seen sewage overflow at the complex. She is not concerned about it happening again.

"Even if it did happen again, I was pleased with how the city took care of it," Freeman said. "I have faith the city will take care of the problem."

Allibone said the city's response to the overflow was quick. But at times, she still can smell the sewage.

While the city will continue to respond to sewage backup, residents can take some measures to prevent overflow and remain healthy, Kety said.

He advised against pouring grease down drains, which can cause blockages. Kety also said residents should refrain from draining rainwater into sewer lines or opening manholes to drain floodwater.

"I don't recommend people allow their children to go out into flooded streets to play," Kety said. "There's potential in any neighborhood that sewage could come up a manhole."

Katie Park can be reached at (727) 445-4154 or [email protected]

Largo redesigning sewer system to prevent overflows 08/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 4:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Allegiant flight makes emergency landing in California after smoke fills cabin


    FRESNO, Calif. — Smoke filled the cabin of an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at a California airport on Monday, forcing coughing passengers to cover their faces with shirts and firefighters to board the plane, authorities said.

    This frame from mobile phone video shows smoke inside an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California's Central Valley, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Smoke filled the cabin of an Allegiant Air jet after it landed at the airport on Monday, forcing coughing passengers to cover their faces with shirts and firefighters to board the plane, authorities said. Allegiant said no passengers or any of the six crew members were injured. [Estevan Moreno via AP]
  2. Forecast: Sunny skies, drier air dominate throughout Tampa Bay region


    Drier air continues to filter into the Tampa Bay area on Tuesday, with clear skies and a slight chance of light rain during the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Florida education news: Makeup days, graduation honors, sex education and more


    MAKEUP DAYS: Hillsborough County schools will eliminate four early release days to meet minimum state time per course, after missing seven days because of Hurricane Irma. • Indian …

    School classrooms are back up and running after Hurricane Irma. Districts are now setting makeup schedules for time missed.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  5. Tampa heading into several tough budget years

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Less pain now, more pain later.

    The Tampa City Council will hold a final public hearing on the proposed 2018 city budget and property tax rate at 5 p.m. Thursday on the third floor of Old City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.