Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Power interruptions cause another sewage spill in Clearwater

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CLEARWATER — Power loss due to Hurricane Irma caused a second significant spill at the Marshall Street sewage plant Tuesday.

About 338,000 gallons of highly treated sewage flowed into Stevenson Creek, following a 1.6 million-gallon spill there the day before.

Both spills were caused by a power outage in the main control room and the generator failing to trigger, utilities director David Porter said.

"Duke Energy is trying to restore power, and the problem is it's not staying on," Porter said. "It goes on, off, goes on and then off. We don't know what caused, for the second time, the generator not to switch over."

Porter said the sewage that spilled was one step away in the treatment process, the filter and chlorination part, from what is normally released into the creek.

He said the city's utilities otherwise fared well during Irma, with no reported manhole overflows or impacts on drinking water.

About 170 employees have worked around the clock to monitor stations and plants since Saturday. Porter said about 18 stations were running on generators as of Wednesday.

"I've had people sleeping and living in every plant, and we've had 24-hour shifts," Porter said. "My entire team is sitting here in a remote location because our office doesn't have power. . . . I had about an hour and half of sleep the first three days. Our team has been working nonstop."

Contact Tracey McManus at tmcmanus@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.

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