Sewage Overload: Millions of Gallons of Wastewater Dumped in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Just how many millions of gallons of partially treated sewage have been dumped into Tampa Bay since Hurricane Hermine blew past is a question that may never be answered. It seems a faulty flow meter on the city of St. Petersburg’s discharge pipes has muddied the waters in regard to gauging the total flow, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley reported the issue to the city council earlier this week. St. Petersburg reported to the state on Monday it had discharged more than 20 million gallons as of that day. The city has been alleviating stress on its sewage plant by discharging partially treated water through a pipe from the Albert Whitted treatment plant to a spot about a quarter mile out in Tampa Bay, the Times reported. Controlled releases of partially treated wastewater are not entirely uncommon when heavy rains flood the region, taxing sewage treatment plants beyond their capacity. Following Tropical Storm Colin in June, a similar action was also taken. In the most recent case, discharging began on Aug. 31 and continued Thursday with no definitive end in sight, the Times said.

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