Roughly 329,000 gallons of untreated wastewater and sewage flooded into a Florida river as heavy rain swamped a sewage treatment center.
A storm hit Tampa on Monday night, flooding the sewage treatment center and spilling the sewage into the Hillsborough River. Nearby St. Petersburg also suffered a spill, though on a much smaller scale. Officials are reviewing the city’s pumps and wastewater management in an attempt to prevent another spill, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The spill occurred in the same place where 352,000 gallons of waste spilled into the river during June 2016, as a result of Tropical Storm Colin. Heavy rains bombard the system with water, overflowing the sewers and popping manhole covers. Monday’s rains led to the compromise of an emergency overflow pipe which spilled the waste.
City officials are evaluating the operation of the hundreds of pumps that operate in Tampa and trying to figure out how to prevent a future storm from wrecking the system. The city hopes to utilize upstream pumping stations to ease the pressure placed on stations at lower levels. While the plant is designed to handle as many as 200 million gallons per day, the pipes were overwhelmed by the barrage of rain — the plant was taking in 170 million gallons every 24 hours. City officials also stated that they will continue to test the river’s bacteria levels.