Mechanical failure leads to sewage spill, fueling red tide concerns • St Pete Catalyst


On Monday evening, the city of St. Petersburg announced that a mechanical failure had resulted in the discharge of about 1,300 gallons of sewage into the area around Smacks Bayou, adjacent to the Snell Isle district.

While relatively small spills of this magnitude occur regularly, there is increased concern as residents are currently facing the worst red tide the region has seen since 1971.

The red tide feeds on nutrients found in wastewater, as well as those provided by runoff, fertilizers, dead fish resulting from the outbreak, and many other sources. City officials have said they take even small spills and transparency seriously.

“We take any spill seriously, understanding the impact it has on our environment,” said Benjamin Kirby, director of communications for the Mayor’s office. “This is why we inform our citizens. You can find these notifications on our website.

The spill was the result of a ruptured water main, and the cause is currently under investigation.

“As to how it will take time to determine the cause of the main force break,” Kirby said. “All the information we know so far can be found in our report. “

The report was filed with the Federal Department of Environmental Protection and said the spill was reported at 9:13 p.m. Sunday, with the city arriving at 8:30 a.m. Monday and the release ceasing at 10:00 a.m. The type of pollution listed was gross. waste.

The spill occurred at the lifting station (LS) 13, under the bridge on the 31st Ave NE just east of Maple St NE. According to the report, when the LS crew arrived at the site, the LS 13 was not functioning. The pumps were turned on manually to assess the problem, although none were found initially. The crew proceeded to the adjacent deck to check the discharge line where the leak was then identified. The pumps were stopped immediately to stop any further spillage, and staff called the Wastewater Maintenance Supervisor (WMS) and informed them of the leak.

When the main crew of the WMS force arrived, they coordinated with the crew of the LS to perform an additional assessment by opening a receiving manhole to monitor the inflow. The crews also used a boat to gauge the main force below deck and turned on the lift station manually. As sewage continued to flow into the receiving manhole, it was determined that the under-deck leak was from a 10-inch casing that held the four-inch discharge line.

Bypass pumping was then put in place, and hard surfaces exposed to raw sewage were cleaned and notice boards were placed around the area. The report indicates that access to the discharge line is limited and that a contractor has been called in to complete the repair work. In the future, the city will work with the engineering department and a contractor to replace the discharge line from the lifting station to the receiving manhole.

While this mechanical failure in St. Petersburg has come under scrutiny due to the ongoing red tide debacle, it is by far not the only recent spill in the region. .

  • On July 4, Hillsborough County released a similar amount of sewage – 1,320 gallons – when a TECO truck struck a pole. On the same day, the city of Tampa estimated that a 57,820 gallon overflow had also been released.
  • On July 10, the city of Tampa dumped 2,700 gallons into a ditch due to a blockage of grease in the line.
  • On July 14, Pinellas County released 500 gallons of overflow and Hillsborough County released an unspecified amount of treated sewage.

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