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Clearwater to release spilled sewage estimates from Hurricane Hermine on Friday

Clearwater officials expect to release estimates on Friday of how many gallons of sewage overflowed into the streets of the North Greenwood neighborhood during Hurricane Hermine.

Pumps at the Marshall Street wastewater treatment plant began failing on Thursday, and sewage gushed from about five manholes, said Public Utilities Director David Porter.

The plant is capable of processing 10 million gallons of wastewater per day, but Hermine's heavy rains pushed at least triple that into the system – it could be more, because the meters can't measure past 30 million gallons.

Porter said the breakdown occurred when water seeped into the dry section of the plant, which houses the pumps and electrical systems.

The city had to rent temporary pumps and began installations Thursday. But sewage continued to overflow the plant through Sunday, when it was finally contained.

Porter said there are no meters that could have kept track of the overflow – so officials must guess by calculating the width of the manholes, how many hours they were leaking, how fast the water was gushing and other factors.

Despite the mess, it was the only area of the city that experienced a sewage spill during the storm, Porter said.

"All of our people were working 24-hours a day in shifts to fix this," Porter said. "We worked very hard and around the clock to protect the safety of our customers."