ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Around 1,300 gallons of raw sewage into the Smacks Bayou, around Eden Isles over the last few days, News Channel 8 has learned.
The Smacks Bayou backs up into the Shore Acres neighborhood, which is also struggling with the effects of red tide.
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Now, 8 On Your Side is pressing city officials for answers explaining how the spill happened and how it could impact you. WFLA’s Christine McClarty visited the St. Pete bayou on Tuesday to learn more information.
St. Pete city officials said the wastewater was discharged into the bayou due to a mechanical failure.
Screenshot of St. Pete Twitter account.
“Hard surfaces that were exposed have been disinfected and signs have been placed,” the city said in another tweet.
“Like the 280 million gallons of toxic radioactive waste into the bay wasn’t bad enough!” one person replied, referencing the recent spill at Piney Point. The Piney Point spill discharged an estimated 215 million gallons of contaminated water into Tampa Bay, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
News Channel 8 is working to learn more about how the spill happened and how it will impact the water, especially with red tide.
Pinellas County Health Department advises against swimming in red tide waters
“We take any spill seriously, with the understanding of the impact it has on our environment. That’s why we notify our citizens,” city spokesman Benjamin Kirby said in a statement.
Pictures taken by WFLA’s Christine McLarty the morning of July 20th, 2021,
You can read the full statement here:
We take any spill seriously, with the understanding of the impact it has on our environment. That’s why we notify our citizens. You can find these notifications on our website. With respect to how it will take time to determine the cause of the force main break. All the information we know to-date is in this report.
Benjamin J. Kirby, Communications Director, St. Petersburg
Kirby said the city was not alone, citing other pollution issues around the Tampa Bay area.
Just ten days ago, Tampa released 2,700 gallons of wastewater into a ditch due to a grease blockage. This month in Lakeland, a manhole overflowed which overwhelmed the sanitary sewer system, and 75,000 gallons of wastewater spilled into a drainage ditch. Pinellas County also released more than 4,000 gallons of “Industrial reuse water” around Weedon Island due to a fire water leak this month, according to Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
In St. Petersburg, there are caution signs in place warning people of the spill. Cleanup and repairs are also underway.