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State Investigating Pasco County For 19.6 Million Gallons Of Partially Treated Wastewater Released Into Gulf

Julio Ochoa
Health News Florida

The water treatment plant in Port Richey couldn't handle high flows from Tropical Storm Elsa.

The state is investigating the release of about 19.6 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico from a facility in Pasco County during Tropical Storm Elsa.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is working with the county to keep another release from happening. A spokeswoman said the agency will ensure Pasco restores any damaged areas and it could enforce fines or other penalties for the spill.

"We remain in constant communication with the facility as they develop their plans to address these issues," an email from DEP spokeswoman Shannon Herbon said. "The department will hold the facility accountable by identifying necessary restoration and/or remediation actions, with the possibility of enforcement including fines and penalties for associated violations."

The incident happed between July 7-12, according to a report filed with the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

The storm caused high flows into the Embassy Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant in Port Richey. Partially treated wastewater breached a pond at the site and flowed into a stormwater drainage ditch that flows into the Gulf.

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