Sewage Overflow in Tampa Bay

In a lead up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio we took a look at the water difficulties that they faced..what about a modern first world city like Tampa Bay?tampa2

When Hurricane Hermine came ashore on Florida’s Gulf Coast a familiar pattern emerge. St. Petersburg’s, Clearwater and Tampa Bay’s water facilities were overloaded, and there was no room for waste. Up to 151 million gallons of partially treated raw sewage were dumped into Tampa Bay.tampa1

This is the 3rd time in the last 13 months that significant amounts of sewage has been dumped into the Bay…with bacteria and contaminants. Aging infrastructure , increased rainfall , and rising sea levels are going to make this a more common experience all over the place. Civil engineers have been warning for decades that our storm water and sewage system management systems need fixing and upgrading. The solutions though are usually expensive , time consuming , and politically difficult.

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Many weakening system are not just old, but have the added difficulty of having used lead piping , before the dangers were known.

All is not bad as some cities have taken action. Boston has recently completed a 30 yr project costing 4 billion , that replaced much of the sewer  piping, and cleaned up the harbor. Chicago has committed 1.4 billion to work on their water and sewer issues. Tampa Bay has approved of 250 million expenditure over 30yrs to upgrade their water and sewer systems.

Populations are growing, the infrastructure get older, costs go up, politicians face hard issues, and climate change…not an easy task, but we only bury our heads and ignore the issues at our own risk.


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