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Largo sewage capacity nearing its end

Sewage treatment plant expansion, scheduled for completion sometime in early 1998, may come too late for some developers.

Because the Largo Sewer District's existing plant is operating near capacity, developers hoping to build condominiums, apartments or subdivisions within the district may have to wait until the expansion is completed, Public Works Director Chris Kubala said Monday.

"Right now, we have room for limited development," Kubala said. "But anything big, such as, say, a 300-unit condo, might have to wait."

The sewer district is almost twice the size of the city, roughly stretching from Belleair on the north to 126th Avenue on the south and from Interstate 275 on the east to the Intracoastal Waterway on the west.

Planning for expansion of the plant at 5100 150th Ave. N in the High Point area, has been under way for more than three years. When completed, the expanded facility will be able to treat 18-million gallons of sewage a day. It currently can treat 15-million gallons a day.

Joe Carlini, the plant's operator, said that on any typical July day, 12-million to 13-million gallons of sewage currently are processed. During the winter, the plant sometimes processes as much as 14-million gallons a day.

In a recent memo to city commissioners, City Manager Steven Stanton said planners and engineers were reviewing recently submitted construction plans.

Plans for construction that were approved more than a year ago but never executed will have to be resubmitted for approval, said Dave Fechter, a planner with the Public Works Department.

Those approved less than a year ago will be permitted, as long as there is sufficient treatment plant capacity at the time construction begins.

Carlini estimated that the treatment plant can handle an additional 50,000 gallons of sewage a day. In June, two new projects, a 25,000-square-foot hotel or motel called the Homestead Village at Feather Sound and a doughnut shop on Ulmerton Road, were conditionally approved, according to Stanton's memo. The Homestead Village will generate an estimated 35,568 gallons of sewage a day, and the doughnut shop, 2,465 gallons.

"We're definitely nearing our rated capacity," Kubala said.

Treatment plant improvements have been lumped together with an expansion of the sewer system to homes in the Allen's Creek area in north Largo for a cost of nearly $10-million. The sewage district will pay for the project with a low-interest state loan. Kubala said the project was delayed several months when the federal government had no budget. The state gets its loan money from the federal government.