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Sewage spill in St. Pete

St. Petersburg spills 423,000 gallons of sewage

Eve Edelheit

St. Petersburg spills 423,000 gallons of sewage



Hours after Mayor Rick Kriseman praised the resilience of his city's improved sewer system, the city spilled 430,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage on Monday afternoon after Hurricane Irma moved north.

A faulty sensor in a holding tank at the Northeast sewage plant, 1160 62nd Ave NE, became stuck,  falsely showing partially-treated sewage at levels below what was really in the tank. 

The sewage eventually spilled over the top of the tank until workers noticed at 4:35 p.m.

The partially-treated sewage was contained on the plant's property.

The plant's biological processes for breaking down sewage were disrupted during the spill. Workers hope to have it fixed by 12:30 p.m.

During the storm, under 19,000 gallons citywide spilled from lift stations that had experienced power disruptions. 

Clearwater had a power-related 1.6 million gallon spill during the storm. And smaller spills occurred thorughout Tampa Bay during Hurricane Irma, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Below is the city's news release: 

Approximately 430,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater overflowed from a holding tank at the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility at 1160 62nd Avenue NE. The spilled water had less than the state-mandated chlorine residual of 1.0 milligrams per liter for disinfection.

The spill occurred between 4:00 and 4:35 pm on Monday September 11, 2017 during operations to hold and then re-chlorinate the water that had gone through full treatment before being released into the reclaimed water system.

While the plant was experiencing post-storm power interruptions, a faulty float sensor in the tank indicated that there was still room for additional water, but in fact, the tank was overflowing. Once workers noted the issue with the faulty sensor and detected the spill, it was stopped.

The spill was contained on the plant property and none of the water went into any water body.

The wastewater plant's biological process was disrupted causing the plant to struggle to maintain the 1.0 mg/l chlorine residual. Plant operators anticipate resolving the problem by 12:30 pm today. We are disposing the low-chlorine residual water through the injection wells at a rate of 500,000 gallons per hour as of this morning.


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:52am]


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