A grease clog in a service cleanout pipe at a south St. Petersburg property last week caused a 20,000-gallon sewage leak. Most of the overflow was able to be diverted and captured, according to officials, but about 1,500 gallons of wastewater spilled into Clam Bayou via a nearby ditch.
The incident occurred in the evening of Thursday, August 3, in the alleyway behind the 2500 block of Kingston St. S. City of St. Petersburg crews labored for nine hours to dislodge the grease clog, which caused raw sewage to back up in the line.
“This is a good reminder [that] grease – and what some call ‘flushable wipes’ – are the most insidious enemies of a sanitary sewer system,” said John Palenchar, interim director of St. Petersburg Water Resources. “They contribute to numerous clogs and overflows throughout the country.”
Palenchar added that the city of St. Petersburg plans to step up its efforts to educate residents about waste disposal. “We are taking the opportunity to partner with folks in the neighborhood near this overflow by distributing educational materials about what should – and should not – go into the sanitary sewer system.”
According a news release from the city of St. Petersburg, crews performed additional work on the sewer line on Friday, August 4, before testing nearby waterways for biological impacts throughout the weekend.
Gulfport City Manager Jim O’Reilly said city staff conducted their own testing on Friday. On Saturday, the results came back, showing that the presence biological contaminants was within an acceptable threshold in the waters of Clam Bayou that fall within Gulfport city limits, as well as the waters of the Gulfport Marina.
“I can’t speak for St. Petersburg,” said O’Reilly, “but it is safe in the Gulfport area, according to our studies.”
The featured photo for this article is from the Gabber archives.