According to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), City of Tampa, Pinellas County, and City of St. Petersburg all recognize that tens of millions of gallons of sewage have been washed into local waters due to Hurricane Hermine.
The current count is at 29 million gallons, and it continues to rise. Not only that, but as of last Tuesday, many of the issues in St. Petersburg continue to go unresolved; the Tampa Bay Times suggested that certain local agencies have yet to report just how much has been spilled.
It seems much of the spillage involved failed sewer pumps that were overwhelmed by the heavy rains. Pinellas County reported a discharge of around 7.3 million gallons of “mostly treated” sewage into Joe’s Creek.
Believe it or not, the numbers out of Pinellas County don’t even come close to the ones reported by the City of St. Petersburg. The city admitted to the FDEP that over 20 million gallons of sewage had been dumped by last Monday.
The mayor’s spokesman, Ben Kirby, then confirmed that as of Tuesday, the discharge was continuing.
The city reportedly suffers from clogged sewer lines and overflowing manholes. The manholes, too, release raw sewage that has yet to be calculated into the official numbers.
According to the Tampa Bay Times report, the city of St. Petersburg does not plan on releasing any further details until the effects of Hurricane Hermine have subsided.
Reports show elevated levels of fecal matter in the Hillsborough River, especially at W. Columbus Drive, W. Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Boulevard. The results of the testing showed numbers that were six to 20 times the limit, although those numbers had apparently stabilized by Sunday.