City of Tampa committed to fixing flooding issues

$250M capital improvement plan passed
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 02:48:30-04

Since before the crack of dawn, Tampa city crews were out in full force. They used commercial grade vacuums to suck out pipes and ensure better water flow to help prevent flooding during Tropical Storm Emily.

The task is easier thanks to a special storm water assessment increase.

"That is new," said Jean Duncan the Director of Transportation and Stormwater.

The city pushed for one million dollars after epic flooding in the past two years.

For the first time ever this past June, they started dredging storm water pipes through the city.  They even even used scuba divers.

A key focus was Bayshore Boulevard.

"Those pipes have not been cleaned out in decades. In some cases 100 percent blocked. We expect a marked improvement," said Duncan.

Monday was a key test and the city is passing.

Over at Tampa's only wastewater plant, Director Eric Weiss said they also embarked on a separate one-million dollar initiative zeroing in near the Hillsborough River.

"That is a 5 foot diameter pipe. It's never been cleaned in 30 years but we are doing that now," said Weiss.

It's an ongoing effort. Crews are constantly rehabilitating smaller pipes.

In just the past five years, 50 miles of wastewater pipelines have been cleaned out at the tune of $50 million.

It's a lot of taxpayer money. But fees haven't gone up thanks to some grants and the pay off is huge.

"Without a doubt," said Weiss.

And years ago that excess water possibly mixed with sewage was more likely to flood Tampa streets.

But, the cleaning of the pipes and a $7 million upgrade just last year to the city's largest pumping station could bring some huge relief.

Leaders stress crews are ready 24/7 to respond if you need help. All you need to do is call this number: (813) 274-3101.

Here is more information on that improvement project passed by the City of Tampa.