St. Petersburg City Council members agreed Thursday to renew a contract for the repair and replacement of the sanitary sewer system.
The $3.3 million the council agreed to spend in 2017 brings the total to about $9.5 million the city has spent on renewal and repair of the system since 2013. The contract with All American Concrete is part of the city’s plan for the renewal and restoration of the wastewater collection system.
The vote came on the heels of the council’s hearing a consultant’s report earlier in the day that the major problem contributing to the city’s recent sewer problems is leaking pipes that allow groundwater to enter the system. The city has earmarked an additional $8 million for the lining of the pipes in the coming year.
St. Petersburg’s sewer system has been under heavy scrutiny since Tropical Storm Colin hit in June. The heavy rains overloaded the system and St. Petersburg dumped untreated and partially treated wastewater into Tampa Bay.
That was repeated in September when Hurricane Hermine bypassed St. Pete on its way to northern Florida. The heavy rains that lasted for days leaked into the sewer pipes and again overloaded the system.
The outcry after the second overflow prompted the Pinellas Legislative Delegation to call a meeting to hear from St. Petersburg, the county, and other cities about the reasons for the overflows. A second delegation workshop is scheduled next month.
The widespread nature of the sewer problems also prompted the formation of a countywide stormwater/wastewater task force in an attempt to find a regional solution to the problems. That group held its first meeting Monday.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told the group the city has pledged to spend $230 million over the next five years to solve its sewer woes. And, he said, he looked forward to possible countywide collaboration on a solution.