Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership highlights progress
The Pinellas County Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership met last Thursday at the St. Petersburg College Seminole campus and provided progress updates on the group’s efforts to identify wastewater and stormwater solutions for the county.
Among the countywide accomplishments cited:
A study performed by the City of St. Pete Beach revealed the need to increase the capacity of its wastewater system with a new sewer force main for the island. As a result, the city recently completed The North Beach Project, which focused on an area where sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) happen more frequently. They are confident the upgrade will reduce SSOs in the future.
The City of Clearwater introduced an innovative system reducing treatment system bottlenecks by preventing blockages from building up in the sewer system. The integrated technology includes a manhole cover-mounted level sensor and data unit that transmits evaluations of water levels, allowing maintenance crews to respond and prevent SSOs. Since its installation in April, the system has generated nine automated alerts allowing clearance of blockages that could have resulted in SSOs or sewer backups into customers’ homes.
Formed in October 2016, the Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership is a joint initiative of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, County municipalities and other agencies. It is composed of state and county officials, municipal leaders and three private utility systems, as well as staff representatives who serve on a Technical Working Group.
“Out of the original action plan developed in January of 2017, the Partnership identified three primary goals for our wastewater and stormwater infrastructure,” said Commissioner Charlie Justice, chair of the Partnership’s Steering Committee. “Those are avoiding and mitigating spills, increasing treatment capacity and system resiliency, and seeking opportunities to address the drainage issues that affect the sanitary sewer system.”
Among the Partnership’s goals: Driving awareness about how damaged private lateral pipes that connect private homes and businesses to the wastewater system can lead to increased inflow and infiltration. To assist with the expense of replacing or repairing private laterals, the Partnership has proposed options for a Private Sewer Lateral Policy that, if approved by the County and participating municipalities, would allow for rebates to customers who initiate inspections for replacement or repair of the private sewer laterals.
“Wastewater and stormwater infrastructure are a foundation on which our County thrives. These systems allow us to live in harmony with our environment,” said Megan Ross, director of Pinellas County Utilities. “The work we do is truly a shared priority for all of us in Pinellas County. We take great pride in fulfilling this role.”
To view the meeting video, or for more information about the Wastewater/Stormwater Partnership, visit
www.pinellascounty.org/partnership. The video can be accessed directly here.