Task force tackles Pinellas County's sewer problems

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The 24 towns and cities of Pinellas County came together to unite over a shared problem, fixing or upgrading their sewer infrastructure.

Millions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage was dumped when cities couldn’t handle storm water from Hurricane Hermine.

“Hurricane Hermine exposed everyone’s weakness in everyone’s system,” said, Charlie Justice, Pinellas County Commissioner.

County and city leaders met Monday morning to discuss how each municipality can work together during crisis weather events.

“If  there is flooding in the south part of the county is there a way the north part of the county could help with capacity,” Justice said.  “Whether it’s through trucks or treatment plants, or is there a way to actually connect the systems.”

St. Petersburg has already budgeted millions to upgrade its system which discharged the most into the bay. Linking all the system’s together is one idea discussed.  Mayor Rick Kriseman downplayed that idea saying the sewer treatment facilities are too complex.

“I think there are some challenges to having a unified system itself,” Kriseman said.  “I don’t know what the cost of that would be.”

The Pinellas County Storm Water Task Force has a team of engineers examining each city’s infrastructure. Their findings will be discussed at the next meeting.