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Thousands of gallons of sewage spills into the USF Forest Preserve

Wetland edge of the USF Forest Preserve. Wide-angle shot of many trees and cypress knees.
David Lewis
/
A significant sewage spill in north Tampa has seeped into a preserve owned by the University of South Florida.

Workers were able to collect about 10,000 gallons of the sewage and return it to the main collection line. That left about 6,000 gallons flowing into wetlands owned by the university.

A significant sewage spill in north Tampa has seeped into a preserve owned by the University of South Florida.

Officials are working to contain the spill, in which more than 6,000 gallons of wastewater are believed to have flowed into the USF Forest Preserve along Fletcher Avenue beginning Monday afternoon.

A report filed with state environmental officials said a break in a main line caused a total of about 16,000 gallons of sewage to spill. It overflowed into a stormwater drain near Fletcher and 56th Street.

Workers were able to collect about 10,000 gallons of the sewage and return it to the main collection line. That left about 6,000 gallons flowing into wetlands owned by the university.

Warning signs have been posted in the area and repairs to the broken sewage line are underway.

The property is one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels along Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County. USF officials had considered developing it but are now leaning toward preservation of much of the nearly 770 acres.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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