Public Works Public Update
St. Petersburg, Fla. (October 13, 2017) – After promising to do “whatever it takes” to ensure public health and safety during this storm season, Public Works officials have not only kept their word, they’re now sharing some words of encouragement -- and some significant updates. First of all, we’ve come through two tropical systems in much better shape than last year – or the year before.
From quick-forming Tropical Storm Emily, which spun up right off the Coast of Pinellas County in July and dumped more than five inches of rain across areas of the city in a matter of hours, peak flows into the still-being-re-habbed sanitary sewer system pushed the 100 Millions of Gallons per Day (MGD) rate range. A small overflow in the final step of chlorination was contained completely on the property at the under-construction SWWRF as the collection and disposal systems did their jobs.
Hurricane Irma brought even more rain in September, and even though the system was pushed again, there were no major issues. St. Petersburg reported only a couple of power-related lift station issues that were immediately resolved once crews could safely deploy generators. Discussions are ongoing to provide more robust back-up power options.
Two Wastewater Utility maintenance Technicians took a city Vactor Truck to Collier County to help with clean up in and around Naples -- a community that was hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Charles Price and Darryl Jones were worn out after a series of 16-hour days of wet, dirty work, but say they definitely made a difference.
“We were used to emergency situations,” said Charles. “They definitely appreciated the expertise,” he added.
But the work is far from finished! Within the month, construction is expected to be completed, resulting in increased filtering and disposal capabilities at the Northwest Water Reclamation Facility (NWWRF) that will provide an additional 10-15 MGD in capacity.
Long-term work to complete sewer main lining and decrease inflow and infiltration is targeting new sections of the city. And there’s the start of an innovative initiative combining elements from reclaimed, potable, storm, waste and recreational water venues to create a holistic “one-water” approach coming soon.
“We’ve made some remarkable progress,” said Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley. We’re ready to keep this positive momentum moving forward.”