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This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to prevent sewage spills.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to keep from releasing sewage and other contaminants into our local waterways. Part of the problem comes from aging wastewater and stormwater systems. 


Mayor Rick Kriseman Facebook page

St. Petersburg is one of 25 cities getting money to go green from philanthropist and rumored presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg.


St. Petersburg leaders have settled a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in 2016 after the city released millions of gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay. 

Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we visit the office of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to talk about his second term in office, which began about a month ago.


The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue their relief efforts more than one week after Hurricane Irma devastated South Florida. Tens of thousands of meals are being served and emergency shelters remain open. But full recovery is still to come: both agencies say they need more volunteers, and ongoing sewage and water quality concerns are fueling concerns of a potential health crisis.

A state investigation into St. Petersburg's sewage spills places much of the blame on the decision to close the Albert Whitted wastewater treatment facility.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

About 50,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage overflowed Wednesday from a water treatment plant in south St. Petersburg.

Hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage spilled onto Pinellas County streets and into waterways after last year's tropical storms. A task force set up to address the issue provided an update on their progress on Thursday in Seminole.

A new law signed today requires public notification within 24 hours of pollution incidents. 

Scott Signs Fentanyl, Pollution Notification Bills

Jun 15, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott signed measures Wednesday that will impose minimum mandatory sentences on people who traffic in the dangerous drug fentanyl and require increased public notification of pollution incidents.

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to prevent sewage spills.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

A federal investigation into St. Petersburg’s sewage releases has been closed.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

On a typical spring day, when it hasn't rained in a while, about 7 million gallons of raw sewage flows into St. Petersburg's southwest water treatment plant.

St. Petersburg officials are repairing about 2,000 manholes to make sure the city's sewage system is not overwhelmed during heavy rainfall.

Gov. Scott Will Sign Pollution Notification Bill

May 4, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott will sign a bill to step up public notification of pollution incidents, after the measure was unanimously approved Wednesday in the House.

When it rains in St. Petersburg, as much as four times the amount of sewage can flow through the city's wastewater plants.

An administrative law judge Friday ruled that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection overstepped its authority in proposing new requirements for notifying the public when pollution occurs.

A researcher who tested the water around St. Petersburg for antibiotic resistant bacteria after the city released sewage into Tampa Bay didn't find any.

A coalition of environmental groups is threatening to sue the city of St. Petersburg over a sewage spill.


St. Petersburg is facing scrutiny over its recent decision to pump 20 million gallons of sewage from an overloaded treatment plant into Tampa Bay.

One national environmental organization is warning: similar overflows could become more common as the climate changes.


  

The state has received reports of more than 268 million gallons of sewage that spilled onto roads and into water around Florida so far this year and nearly 95 percent of it happened in Pinellas County during Hurricane Hermine.

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate a sewage spill in St. Petersburg.

Members of Pinellas County's legislative delegation say the early closure of a sewage plant is a main reason why the city of St. Petersburg had to release millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Hermine.

At a delegation workshop Tuesday city officials explained that the Albert Whitted plant near downtown could still be running today, but closed in April 2015. At the time, city officials told the state another sewage plant in the southwest part of the city could handle the additional load.

St. Petersburg has a plan to minimize sewage spills during major rain events and the Department of Environmental Protection wants to ensure it follows through.

Downpours from Hurricane Hermine forced wastewater facilities in at least 15 communities around the Tampa Bay area to release millions of gallons of sewage onto residential streets and into water bodies over a seven day period that ended Tuesday.

  The Hillsborough County Health Department issued health advisories for three public beaches today.

Elevated levels of bacteria were found in the water at Simmons Park, Picnic Island and Davis Island.

When the sewer system in St. Petersburg became overwhelmed by rain from Tropical Storm Colin the city had to pump sewage into Tampa Bay.

St. Pete Beach had the same problem and pumped sewage into Boca Ciega Bay.

State inspectors say a failing sewage plant in southwest Florida pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of inadequately treated liquid sewage into nearby mangroves earlier this year.

Most people don’t think about the septic tank until it needs to be pumped out. And even then, most people don’t care where the stuff goes when the smelly truck pulls away. But as Jim Ash reports, some lawmakers are looking at the final destination closely and environmentalists are concerned.