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Largo releases sewage spill report to public a minute before the close of business Friday

LARGO — City officials made a report containing sewage spill totals from Hurricane Hermine publicly available at 4:59 p.m. Friday, a minute before city offices closed for the weekend.

The report said the city released about 24.4 million gallons of sewage, with just over half of that amount raw sewage and rainwater that spewed out of manholes around the city. That doesn't include nine of the 23 spills the city wasn't able to count. About 11.9 million gallons was discharged from the city's treatment plant into Cross Bayou before going through dechlorination, the last step of treatment.

Irvin Kety, the city's environmental services director, sent the report to City Manager Henry Schubert at about 2:15 p.m. on Friday. Schubert's secretary, Amy Meyers, forwarded the report to the mayor, commissioners and reporters at 4:59 p.m.

It's not unusual for organizations to send information to the public at inopportune times, such as during a weekend or around business close when officials won't be available to answer questions. Schubert said Monday morning that wasn't his intent. He was in meetings from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. then from 3:45 to around 4:15 or 4:30 p.m., he said, so he it took him a couple hours to see the report in his inbox.

"I wasn't trying to play any games," he said. "It was either sent out then or hold it until Monday morning, and I chose to go ahead and send it out then."

The city received 15 inches of rainfall during six days during the storm, with about 20 inches dropping in southwest Largo, according to the report. The total adds on to reported discharges from St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater and Pinellas County.