Injection well to help relieve flooding in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Crews have finished installing one of six injection wells to help relieve flooding around the City of St. Petersburg.

City leaders unveiled the well, along with a new filtration system, at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility on Tuesday.

It will allow for more capacity to treat and store water. A total of six injection wells are planned to go around the city. Two more are expected to be up and running by mid-August.

“Back in May, this plant and our system had the capacity of treating 112 million gallons per day and storing 8 million gallons in one day. Now we have the capacity of treating 122 million gallons a day and we have the storage capacity of 20 million gallons,” said Claude Tankersley, the public works administrator in St. Petersburg.

Doug Price lives in Shore Acres. He was one of hundreds of residents that saw major flooding issues during Tropical Storm Colin and Hurricane Hermine.

“We had trash and debris all the way to those bushes,” said Price.

Backed up treatment plants caused storm water and partially treated discharge to overflow into the streets and the bay.

City leaders claim the injection well will help prevent the myriad of problems residents saw in 2016.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said this is a short-term solution while crews begin work on aging pipes and sewer lines.

“We’ve added capacity to the equivalent of what we saw during Hermine and we’re certainly hoping we don’t get a storm that’s significantly worse than Hermine which was pretty bad. So we’re trying to anticipate and build to what our expectations are so that we don’t have any problems going forward,” said Mayor Kriseman.

Kriseman said the city is coming up with a master plan to fix the problem.

“This isn’t about pointing blame,” said Kriseman. “You have to figure out how you got to where you’re at, what caused the problems, what’s wrong with the system if you’re gonna fix it. We have a very clear understanding of what happened before and how we got to where we’re at and now we’re addressing it, going forward so future generations don’t have to deal with same issues we’re dealing with.”

Price remains hopeful the injection well will work.

“We need responses that make sense. And any kind of monies to mitigate the problem further and further until at some point, you hope that all you get is the typical Florida street flooding,” he said.

The total cost of the infrastructure improvement plan is estimated at $304 million.

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