City of St. Pete plans to replace oldest pipes in the city first

Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 19:25:35-04

The city of St. Petersburg is now identifying which neighborhoods have the oldest pipes and the most frequent sewage overflows. Now they’re planning to start fixing the worst sections by the beginning of 2017.

On a sunny day, Jill Fong said the Old Southeast neighborhood she’s called home for 20 years is nearly perfect. But when Hurricane Hermine was here, it wasn’t.

“The dumping of the sewers, things like that, it’s been almost impossible for us to use our park here, because of the smell and even being outside,” Fong said.

Some of the pipes in the Old Southeast neighborhood pre-date World War II and they’re some of the first the city of St. Pete now said they plan to replace. A map shows the areas with the worst pipes, totaling about 10-15% of the pipes in the whole city. 

“We noticed that it was very very heavily sewaged and you know garbage not garbage just kind of gross and the water was very dark,” Victoria Klotz said. 

Right now, the city is studying the sewer system during dry conditions to see what’s still leaking. They plan to start improvements to the system by the beginning of 2017, spending $8 million to fix the most critical spots before the next rainy season. 

“We have everybody’s attention and the message from the public has been very clear, fix the sewers, tell us what it’s going to cost but fix it,” Councilman Karl Nurse said.

“Nobody wants to go to a park when it smells like poop, you know, and I’m very happy that they’re finally doing something about it,” Fong said. 

Councilman Nurse said the city needs to make a long term commitment and probably spend tens of millions of dollars to fully fix the sewer system.