Water-Related News

Sewage Spills: Hurricane Irma highlighted deficiencies in wastewater treatment

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma 88 million gallons of wastewater spilled into state waters, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

A million gallons of it came from the city of Arcadia where debris clogged a pump and pressurized pipes led to sewage spilling out of a manhole and into the Peace River.

Julie Karleskint, an environmental engineer contracted by the city, said what happened in Arcadia is one example of the statewide problem with aging infrastructure.

“These are old clay sewers so when they became pressurized they basically collapsed,” said Karleskint describing what happened in the days after Hurricane Irma.

Arcadia is one of 42 utilities around the state to enter that’s entered into a consent agreement with the DEP in the last year to upgrade problems that were exacerbated by the storm.

The DEP also assessed more than $400,000 in penalties.