St. Pete city council members work to investigate sewage issues

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA)– Millions of gallons of wastewater were released into the bay after Hurricane Hermine, but could it have been prevented?

On Monday morning, St. Petersburg City Council members tried to get to the bottom of the big, stinky mess that affected many residents in Pinellas County.

Various consulting firms appeared before council members and explained their involvement in regards to wastewater and sewage studies leading up to Hurricane Hermine.

Representatives from the consulting firm Brown and Caldwell claimed information was included in a 2014 report that warned of the potential of a sewage spill if the city closed the Albert Whitted Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Council members maintain that information was only shared with certain staff members in the storm water department and not with the entire city council.

“This report that we are talking about was 2014. When I voted no, it was 2011 because there was a previous report that they didn’t give to us, so this was a culture of withheld information, and we are going to make the decision ourselves,” said council member Steve Kornell.

Kornell wants to make sure this never happens again.

“Going forward, council has to put in procedures to make sure this never happens again. We have to provide oversight writing into our contracts with our consultants that they mail each one of us personally into our office any work products so we actually see the reports,” said Kornell.

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