Water-based businesses still feeling Hurricane Hermine's wrath

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 18:31:27-04

Pinellas County legislators now plan to talk sewage dumping solutions, but with 248 million gallons spilled during Hurricane Hermine, we're still feeling the storm's wrath. One of the hardest hit groups is small businesses that use the bay.

“Less hours I have to work, so I just work probably half days because I’m not getting no business,” Izzy Rios with Fun Unlimited said.

Jet skis and pontoon boats sit empty. It is the slow season for rentals like these, but something else is keeping some people away.

“People do call, people want to go on jetskis on the weekends but when the water’s contaminated we can’t send them out due to that," Rios said.

Fun Unlimited in Gulfport said they can't always live up to their name, after Hurricane Hermine forced Pinellas County to dump millions of gallons of sewage into the bay. The owner of Kayak Nature Adventures said sewage overflow has cost him about $50,000.

"I’m very frustrated and I’m very disheartened that I’m that close to closing you know I put my whole life the last 15 years and my family’s life on the line to make a business run and it was it was running great," Kurt Zuelsdorf said.

Not all tourists are keeping out of the water in Fort De Soto park.

"I didn’t think about it going in, I knew there were some brown spots because we’re staying on St. Pete Beach itself, and my husband did, the smell, he did call the EPA," Carol Elam said. "I was glad I wasn’t here a few weeks ago."

Businesses are already looking forward to a permanent solution and a busier Spring Break season to make up for their losses.