St. Pete mayor reveals wastewater improvement plan

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman went before council members Thursday to reveal a wastewater improvement plan.

In a brief presentation, the mayor discussed short and long-term goals, as well as how much and how long it would take to fix St. Pete sewer system.

Officials said, right now, their focus is on a short-term plan, which is to get repairs underway and hope to complete by 2019.

That plan includes expansion, reliability improvements and lining, sealing and point repairs.

The mayor is hoping his plan will hit a homerun.

“By now we all now the history, big rain events and compromised wastewater system lead to big discharges and spills,” said Mayor Kriseman. “If the Cubs can win the world series, then fixing our infrastructure is totally doable.”

The short-term plan would cost $45 million. Authorities also discussed reopening the Albert Whitted plant for more capacity. The long-term project is to expand on short-term improvements and complete by 2021.

“it’s also going to take a significant investment in time to get everything done that we want to accomplish. Everything done will take about five years,” said Kriseman.

The overall project is estimated to cost $304 million.

St. Pete resident, Walter Donnelly said he’s on board. He lives near Eckerd College. His neighborhood has been flooded several times since 2015.

“All that waste comes down to where I live. I can throw a stone and get to where it overflowed so that’s why we’re involved in here. That plan that was presented today is going to prevent that from happening to me and my neighbors, which are 10,000 of us, who are concerned about this and this is the way out,” said Donnelly.

St. Pete only has $161.4 million budgeted.

Mayor Kriseman said they would look for ways to make up for the shortfall, which would include rate increase, bond money, state and federal funding and money from Penny for Pinellas.

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