REDINGTON BEACH, Fla. — It doesn’t take much for parts of Tampa Bay to flood. Sometimes just a thunderstorm or high tide can be enough to drench neighborhoods .Yet, officials in Redington Beach in Pinellas County are on a mission to alleviate flooding in their beachfront community.
Crews from Seminole Septic and Wind River Environmental are on a mission to flush out every major storm drain in Redington Beach.
With the help of a robotic camera, they’re getting an inside look at the pipes that connect drains in neighborhoods to the intracoastal.
Often times, crews find natural causes that back up storm drains like oyster shells. However, it’s the other debris they’re finding now that is becoming a cause for concern including nearly 30 sand bags (likely from past storms), a personal tool kit, chunks of concrete and sprinkler heads.
Town Commissioner Richard Cariello hopes the inspection will help them figure out why the water on city streets is slow to recede after a storm, and now he also hopes it sends a message about the importance of keeping debris out of the drains.
“It’s a two phase operation : #1 protecting our residents, their homes and also #2 protecting the environment by protecting the town from being flooded and that debris washing into intracoastal,” he explained.
Cariello hopes everyone will be more careful to make sure items aren’t washed or thrown into storm drains.
“Consider the system throughout your town or city like the drain you have in your house. You’re careful about what you drop in your sink and about the debris you allow down the sink. The storm system is the same thing except on a larger scale,” he explained.
Redington Beach resident Vladimir Tchentsov has bad memories of Tropical Storm Eta, which flooded several parts of Pinellas County, including his neighborhood.
“It was horrible and completely unexpected because it was the end of hurricane season,” he explained.
Tchentsov said he was lucky and happened to be the only home in the neighborhood that didn’t flood but most neighbors had feet of water inside their properties. “You could have driven a boat down our street,” he added.
Tchentsov is glad to see the drains he and his neighbors rely on are getting a clean sweep.
Once crews are done cleaning and inspecting the stormwater drains, the town will add new wastop inline check valves on outfall pipes to keep saltwater from backing up into neighborhoods during high tide and storms. Tchentsov hopes it will make a difference during the next storm. “Any help is great, even just a little help,” he said.