Spurred on by St. Petersburg’s release Tuesday of partially treated wastewater into Tampa Bay, state Rep. Kathleen Peters has called for a state investigation into the condition and capacity of the city’s sewer system.
Peters, a Republican from South Pasadena, released this statement Thursday:
“Over the past three years, the city of St. Petersburg has discharged significant amounts of partially treated sewage into the bays surrounding Pinellas County. Not only has St. Petersburg seen significant growth in population and new business, the city also hold contracts with several other cities to process sewer/wastewater. With the continued growth and redevelopment in St. Petersburg and the contracted cities, I am concerned that St. Petersburg has not maintained and expanded the sewer system infrastructure that protects the citizen’s health, public safety and the environment.
“I have requested that Florida Department of Environmental Protection investigate and evaluate St. Petersburg’s infrastructure and capacity to effectively meet the demands of the city and partnering city’s sewer/wastewater demands. This would include looking at the protocols on how the city of St. Petersburg responds with their contractual cities for reducing or shutting down the pushing of sanitary waste. I have also requested the FDEP look into the impact fees for growth and development that have been collected over the past several years and see if those revenues have been reinvested to upgrade and improve the infrastructure, as well as review the city’s concurrency management system.
“Ensuring that cities have effective wastewater management systems is absolutely critical to protect the environment, water quality and public health. This is among the most fundamental basic need of which the city government is responsible. This week’s ‘weather event’ wasn’t close to the magnitude of one that occurred last August, when St. Petersburg was reported to have dumped as much as 31 million gallons of partially treated sewer/wastewater into Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and Clam Bayou.
“I have great concern that the increased demand on this system from growth and development together with the city’s perceived inaction over the past year to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure has made for a potential environmental and health disaster in the future.”