Bayou Water Quality Still in Question

Update 9/23, 11:15am: St. Petersburg sent the latest water quality tests for Clam Bayou late Tuesday afternoon, after the Gabber went to press on an early deadline. The city of Gulfport has that report here: mygulfport.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Revised-Updated-Advisory-Posted-92315.pdf

 

A month and a half since over 15 million gallons of sewage was pumped into Clam Bayou by the city of St. Petersburg, questions still remain about the water quality in the nature preserve.

St. Petersburg is in charge of testing the water quality of the bayou and has been passing along the results to city staff in Gulfport, but recently, the results have been lagging behind. As of September 22, the most up-to-date readings are from a test conducted on September 16.

“They were providing us with test results every other day,” Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly said. “We’ve asked them to increase the frequency of updates.”

But, says O’Reilly, St. Petersburg has failed to do so. St. Petersburg water management officials did not return phone calls by the Gabber’s early press time this week. (See update above)

According to the September 16 update, the water quality has been fluctuating, but gradually improving. Gulfport Beach and the Municipal Marina have been open, but an advisory remains in place for in-water activities at Clam Bayou.

In the latest efforts to get answers and state assistance, Gulfport’s Vice Mayor Yolanda Roman took State Representative Darryl Rouson on a tour of Clam Bayou on Friday, September 18.

“This effects all of us,” Rousson, whose district encompasses the southern portion of St. Petersburg, said at the meeting. “I want to understand what happened and the extent of the damage and how I can help with state resources.”

Roman said she is hoping Representative Rousson will be able to get the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to fund a study on Clam Bayou, replicating the study conducted in 2012.

“I want to understand the health [of Clam Bayou] so we can understand what we need to do,” Roman said.

Rousson made several phone calls while on the tour to ask for help from state officials, including the Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

“This is a good time to talk about a local bill,” Rousson said, adding that he would attend a delegation meeting this week and bring attention to the issue.

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