State investigating wastewater spills across Tampa Bay totaling about 1 million gallons

Author: Phil Buck

ST. PETERSBURG FL (12/26/2018) — It was a busy holiday weekend for wastewater spills around the Tampa Bay region.

On Wednesday, Sarasota County lifted a health advisory that was issued the previous week after 900,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into Sarasota Bay.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the cities of Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg all had unauthorized discharges of wastewater heading into the holiday weekend as well.

“Every single wastewater spill is taken very seriously and evaluated in its own right,” DEP spokeswoman Shannon Herbon said. “The Department of Environmental Protection takes every single wastewater spill very seriously and we investigate it to its full potential.

“It’s important that everyone take these spills seriously because we must protect both the environment and human health and safety.”

Herbon added that both the Clearwater and St. Petersburg discharges were still under investigation.

“In the event of a reported discharge our response is typically three-fold,” she said. “We work with the facility to identify any releases and ensure that the release is stopped as quickly as possible.

“We then gather and analyze information surrounding the circumstances of the reported incident to evaluate it from a regulatory perspective, that helps us to determine if there were any violations and exactly how severe; then we also identify any further corrective actions needed including solutions to avoid possible discharges and evaluate the need for possible enforcement as well.”

In total, the Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg incidents discharged nearly 1 million gallons of wastewater combined.