South Tampa homeowners worry city construction project is polluting canals

Regulators warn city contractor

TAMPA — Dr. Jenny Aregood bought a home on the Spring Lake canal for the view and the visitors.

This year she noticed a change in the water. Dr. Aregood says the spring-fed waterway went from clear to muddy on most days. And she says many of the manatees and birds left.

Down the street, Anne Nelson says she's pulled hundreds of pieces of trash out of the canal this year. Residents say the changes coincided with the start of a major stormwater construction project: part of the plan to alleviate South Tampa flooding issues.

Both Dr. Aregood and Nelson voiced their concerns to the city but say they were told there were no problems.

We obtained Florida Department of Environmental Protection records and found an April inspection uncovered potential deficiencies in the city-hired contractor’s stormwater pollution prevention plan. A  re-inspection May 23 triggered a warning to the contractor.

City engineer Mike Chucran showed us the floating barriers designed to capture the mud and trash from the project. City officials blame the increase in debris in the water on all of the rain.

With the construction project complete, DEP now plans to test the water again to determine if the construction was the cause. Residents say they are all for progress but not at the cost of the environment.

 

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