Raw sewage floods Largo streets

New construction expected to help
Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 02:08:51-04

Raw sewage overflow is bubbling up and flooding Largo streets.

Marcia Grantham is watching the levels rise towards her house she's lived in for 49 years. She's frustrated.

"Absolutely I'm frustrated, you worry when it's gonna come in your front door." Marcia says.

A few doors down it did come through. Right into Judy Lundin's garage. She says she got 5 inches of water inside. 

"I'm not happy about it but what can we do." she adds.

Here's the problem, a large tank at Largo's wastewater treatment plant isn't even running right now. A large tank is out of commission.

"This has all been rebuilt, this was taken down to nothing." says Irvin Kety is Largo's Environmental Services Director.

He says an 18 million dollar construction project is splitting the old tank into 2 more functional tanks.

For now wastewater is being sent through a temporary system, where it gets treated and some of the treated water is getting dumped into Cross Bayou.

Reporter: "Some of these people are frustrated. What do you say to those people?"

Kety:  "Well our goal is to keep the sewage in the pipes and in the plant and do everything we can. Our people will work nights, days, weekends, holidays."

Even if the original tank was running, Kety says the plant can only handle up to 7 and a half inches of rain in 24 hours. He says yesterday they got over 11 inches.

Once the projects are done it's expected to resolve the problems.

Martha just wishes they acted sooner.

She says, "I think the infrastructure in this city has been let go for so many years and they just keep moving people in and letting people buy and build."

The problem's not going away anytime soon.

The project is expected to last until later this September for tank 1 and November for tank 2.  

Another 38 million dollar project which is expected to pump waste and storm water to the plant faster isn't expected to be completed until next fall.  

Kety says sewage fees will go up for residents but that won't happen until at least 2018.  

How much hasn't been decided yet.