By Charlie Frago
Times Staff Writer
CLEARWATER — A freak equipment malfunction led to a 1.6 million gallon sewage spill into Stevenson Creek in Clearwater early Monday.
A power outage caused a part to fail, which caused pumps to fail at the city's Marshall Street sewage plant at 1605 Harbor Drive about 12:50 a.m., said David Porter, the city's public utilities director.
The partially treated sewage flowed into Stevenson Creek. It had gone through two stages of wastewater treatment but had not been filtered or treated with chlorine, which kills bacteria, Porter said.
A plant operator was able to fix the problem at 3:45 a.m. High winds had prevented specialists from arriving to address the problem earlier, Porter said.
High flows of sewage into the plant wasn't the problem, Porter said. Sewage flow never exceeded about half of the plant's 30 million-gallon capacity.
"I was thinking we were going to get through this without any problem," Porter said. "This was a very unusual circumstance."