Containment efforts continue after wastewater spill
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Containment efforts continue after wastewater spill

Jul 26, 2023

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Repairs are continuing after 10,000 additional gallons of wastewater leaked into Riviera Bay in St. Petersburg.

The leak started Friday while crews worked to fix a water main.

The city originally stated about 600 gallons made it into the bay on Friday.

According to officials, the repairs, which they say will be a permanent fix, will take a few years, though a temporary fix will take place over the next few days. For the permanent fix, the pipe had already been scheduled to be fixed in 2025 with $3 million, and was bumped up. There will be 1 mile of pipe fixed.

“So replacing a mile of 24 inch of ductile iron pipe is a huge job. 3 million plus job,” said St. Petersburg Water Resources Director John Palenchar. “So we anticipate for that to take between a year and two years to do a full replacement. That is why we need to do a bypass so that we have a reliable way to transport that wastewater, while that full replacement is being performed.”

Officials are asking people to avoid Riviera Bay until further notice. Water quality testing also is taking place.

According to officials, drivers can expect intermittent road closures at the San Martin Boulevard NE Bridge while containment efforts and construction work is ongoing.

City crews are utilizing vacuum trucks to pull the sewage out of the pit, preventing any additional leakage into the bay.

All sewage vacuumed from the containment pit is being trucked away for full treatment in the city's wastewater facilities.