Sewage spilled; tainting feared

Test results are due today to see if the mishap contaminated the Intracoastal Waterway.

Published May 18, 2007

LARGO - City and county officials are waiting for test results today to determine whether two sewage spills Wednesday night contaminated the Intracoastal Waterway.

A sewage force main ruptured around 8:15 p.m., causing two spills and sending as much as 3, 000 gallons of waste into nearby streets.

The first spill happened at 12294 Indian Rocks Road and the second was at 122nd Avenue and 144th Lane.

The spills occurred in Largo, but the force main is the responsibility of the Pinellas County Utilities Department. County officials said a blockage had caused pressure to climb, leading to the rupture.

County crews worked all night as traffic was detoured around the problem. By midafternoon Thursday, the streets had been cleaned and traffic was moving normally again.

Water tests were being done at a nearby drainage pond that feeds into the Intracoastal Waterway near Largo Intracoastal Marina.

Utilities department spokesman Marq Caughell said there is no shoreline recreation in the area, only dense mangroves.

"Residents and businesses should be unaffected, " he said.

Tests results were to be ready at noon today.

Largo Mayor Pat Gerard said city employees had worked in conjunction with county utility workers to get the spills cleared.

"We were out there last night with them, " Gerard said. "It's everybody's problem when sewerage starts spewing."

Will Van Sant can be reached at vansant@sptimes.com or 445-4166.