Investigator finds "internal disarray" in St. Pete's Water Resources Dept.

Image 1 of 3

A blistering report on St. Petersburg's Water Resources Department written by outside investigator Laura Brock found the department in "internal disarray."

The report also reaffirmed what whistleblower Craven Askew revealed in September, that several department officials ignored a 2014 study warning of a major failure if the Albert Whitted water treatment plant were closed.

City council and Mayor Rick Kriseman said they hadn't seen that report and council voted to close the Albert Whitted plant in 2015 without the information. The decreased sewage capacity led to the nearly 200 million gallons of sewage being dumped into the bay this summer when storms overwhelmed the system.

Kriseman acknowledged the issues in the Water Resources Department, but defended Claude Tankersley, the city's public works administrator.

City council voted to approve a series of smaller temporary fixes aimed at upgrading the city's aging sewer system. Council also debated a much larger $2.2 million project to uprgade the city's Southwest Water Treatment Plant.

At one point councilman Ed Montanari made a motion to reopen the Whitted plant, but Tankersley recommended against the plan, citing engineering consultants that indicated it would be too costly.

Kriseman previously suspended two water resources officials after Askew revealed the Whitted report was ignored. The mayor's spokesman says Kriseman would address the workers' fates next week.