Sewer Plant Expansion Ahead of Schedule, Kriseman Says
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
The project is designed to increase capacity at the plant in south St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG – As this city heads into the heart of the rainy season, memories of last year’s sewage spills are at the forefront of political debate and residents’ concerns that another spill could occur.
Mayor Rick Kriseman did not rule out that possibility during a press conference this morning (July 11), but he assured residents that renovations to one of the city’s sewer plants is ahead of schedule. That expansion is designed to increase the capacity of the system making it less likely that a major spill will happen once work is complete. The work at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility, 3800 54th Ave. S, is expected to be complete in August or September.
The addition of injection wells and up-to-date filtration systems is already making a difference, according to Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley. In May, he said, the Southwest plan could handle 48 million gallons a day of raw sewage. That’s 40 million gallons in the treatment section and 8 million gallons in the storage facility. Now, the Southwest Plant can process 68 million gallons per day of raw sewage – 50 million gallons in the treatment facility and 18 million gallons in storage. When renovations are complete, the plant will be able to process 88 million gallons a day – 70 million in treatment and 18 million in storage.
When the improvements at Southwest are factored in, Tankersley said, capacity in the overall system is now 140 million gallons a day; 122 million gallons in treatment and 18 million in storage. That’s up from May when the overall system had a capability of 120 million gallons a day. And it’s less than the 175 million gallons per day the system will be able to handle when the expansion work at Southwest is complete.
That new capacity would easily handle the 128 million gallons per day during Tropical Storm Colin and the 145 million gallons per day during Tropical Storm Hermine last summer. It was those two storms that overtaxed the city’s system, causing St. Petersburg officials to dump about 200 million gallons of raw and partly treated sewage into the bay.
The expansion work at Southwest, costing about $24 million, is only part of the work. St. Petersburg has embarked on a five-year plan to upgrade the entire system. Among the improvements are repairs and the lining of pipes to prevent rainwater from seeping into the system and overburdening it. It also include improvements to manholes to prevent incursion of rainwater. And it includes the expansion of the Northwest Water Reclamation Plant, 7500 26th Ave. N.
For information about St. Pete’s sewer infrastructure improvement plan, to to stpete.org.
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Photos by Anne Lindberg, TB Reporter. Main photo shows St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman demonstrating the new disc filtration system at the Southwest Water Reclamation Plant, 3800 54th Ave. S.
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