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Wastewater/Stormwater Task Force shows sewer system progress

Seminole, Fla.  (April 9, 2018) – St. Petersburg Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley joined other members of the Pinellas County Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership Technical Working Group to present the third update to the group’s steering committee (made up of local legislative leaders) today at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus Digitorium.

The program highlighted many of the infrastructure improvement initiatives throughout the county – from rain trays to pipe lining – which have “tightened up” leaky parts of the sanitary sewer systems in the state’s most densely populated county.  Tankersley pointed out that while significant improvements have been made in the St. Petersburg system since unfortunate spills in 2015 and 2016, there is more work to do.  Specifically, he noted that it will take help from homeowners and businesses to secure “private laterals” (the portion of piping that leads from the end of the private property’s plumbing system to the municipal sanitary sewer).  Efforts are already underway to craft rational regulations to encourage and ensure community cooperation.   

“We’re working to put an ordinance together that would establish the responsibility of the private users to make sure that their systems are not introducing stormwater and groundwater into the public system,” said Tankersley. 

A partnership with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program will help to develop pilot programming to explain and educate each and every one in Pinellas County about the importance of proper inspection and maintenance of the private laterals.   Robust public outreach and participation – which has been up to this point, letting citizens know how local municipalities are working on solutions – should shift a bit in the coming months.  Tankersley said that will be key in making sure that all of us who use the systems know how important our portion of piping is.

“And we all pitch in and help each other to get this problem solved,” he said.

Those interested can watch the entire Pinellas Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership here:

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