Local cities battling aging infrastructure days after Hermine

Flooded roads, Overflowing storm water systems
Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 18:37:14-04

On a quiet street in Gulfport the quiet holiday morning was interrupted by the sound of a very loud water pump coming out of the underground sewer system.

It was the sound of a problem that's been ignored for decades.

Today those city workers spent their Labor Day "laboring" over the lasting effects from Hermine and an infrastructure unprepared for a hard days rain, let alone a tropical storm.

Hurricane Hermine was a category 1 storm that did not even hit Tampa Bay directly.

And now that the water has receded, another gift is revealed to drivers: pot holes

“We need more city money coming in to help deal with the ware owe have since it wasn't even a cat one,” says longtime resident Grand Bond.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman admitted the city was forced to release millions of gallons of sewage into coastal waterways because the storm water system could not handle the rain.

“This state quite frankly has not invested, this country, has not invested in infrastructure,” he said during a news conference on Friday as Hermine was lashing the Bay Area.

The mayor is tired of it.

"It's really time that both Tallahassee and Washington step up and recognize that the country's infrastructure is aging and it needs to be replaced and repaired,” he says.

“The environment has changed,” says Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who says it's past time to invest in infrastructure

“Pinellas county and Tampa bay will be changed by climate change.”

Welch says the county can pay for it with a penny sales tax.

“The combined effects of sea level rise and extreme weathers are hitting us right now as we see,” he said as he looked at a flooded out MLK St. behind him.

If city, state, and federal leaders don't act soon, everyone agrees the streets will flood again and next time it could be much worse.