State lawmakers discuss sewage issues with DEP, St. Pete officials

sewage

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County Legislative Delegation met Wednesday to discuss St. Petersburg’s sewage spills.

This is the second meeting on the spills.

RELATED: St. Petersburg officials say it may take more than 2 years for wastewater problems to be corrected

Rainfall from Hurricane Hermine caused treatment plants in St. Petersburg to overflow. As a result, millions of gallons of untreated waste water were discharged into the Bay.

Department of Environmental Protection officials talked Wednesday about their ongoing investigation into the discharges. They said they’ve discussed the overall system with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and his team.

Kriseman also laid out his vision, which included short- and long-term goals to fix the problems. He presented the same plan to city council leaders earlier this month.

State Senator Jack Latvala isn’t confident the immediate issues will be addressed by next summer. He said he’s optimistic, but would probably bet against it.

RELATED: St. Pete mayor wants investigation of wastewater whistle-blower complaint

“It’s a big project to undertake and complete in seven, eight months,” Latvala said.

He, along with the rest of the members of the Legislative Delegation, want Kriseman to consider other options they said will work now. They believe reopening the Albert Whitted Treatment plant would help alleviate capacity. Or, they said, the city could rent a wastewater treatment barge for use.

“I think the people in the community will be very disappointed if they don’t meet their objectives,” Latvala said.

Longtime St. Petersburg resident Jay Hardman, who attended the meeting, is hopeful the mayor’s plan will work. “I think that the infrastructure solutions are good ones. I do think that it’s movement in the right direction, but I think we need to think beyond this immediate fix and even the longer term solutions,” Hardman said.

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