St. Petersburg city officials have a lengthy and expensive to-do list from the state to fix a major issue.
- State EPA wants St. Petersburg to fix its decaying sewer and storm drainage system
- Almost 200 million gallons of sewage was dumped into Bay area waterways in 2016
- City council set to vote on potential fixes this week
- RELATED: St. Pete officials were warned about sewage spills (Sept. 16, 2016)
And part of those costs will be passed along to tax payers.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection wants St. Petersburg to fix its decaying sewer and storm drainage system.
The problem caused a myriad of issues in St. Pete in 2016 when almost 200 million gallons of sewage was dumped into Bay area waterways.
The heavy rains from Tropical Storm Hermine exposed serious problems with the city’s wastewater treatment and containment.
To fix the issue, the state has laid out a 5-year repair and refurbish plan for the city - and a $326 million price tag.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rick Kriseman is hosting a tour Tuesday of the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility to show planned improvements to the stormwater system.
The work includes replacing and refurbishing some of the city's 950 miles of pipes. Public works is targeting the oldest pipes first. The repair work also will increase the overall water treatment capacity.
St. Petersburg residents will help foot that bill starting in January when their bills increase by 10 to 20 percent to help fund stormwater upgrades.
"The fact of the matter is here to fore, probably for the last two decades there probably should have been costs passed down," said Walter Donnelly with the Alliance of Bayway Communities. "Sooner or later, just like my home budget, if I don't keep up with my home budget, you've gotta pay it sooner or later."
City officials also said the next five years will be challenging.
"There will be some roads torn up," said Claude Tankersley, with the St. Petersburg Public Works Administration. "But a lot of the work we're trying to do is what we call "trenchless technology", which allows us to do it without tearing up the road."
City officials say if voters pass the "Penny for Pinellas" ballot issue in November, that would lower the scheduled rate hike to their water bill in January.
The city council will vote on the repair plan Thursday.