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St. Petersburg Repairing 2,000 Manholes To Prevent Sewage Releases

St. Petersburg officials are repairing about 2,000 manholes to make sure the city's sewage system is not overwhelmed during heavy rainfall.

Rainwater has been seeping through the aging concrete that lines the manholes and through gaps in their metal covers. 

The city is coating the concrete in the manholes to prevent leaks and it's placing rain dishes under the covers to collect water that seeps through.

Mayor Rick Kriseman says the repairs along with upgrades at the wastewater treatment facilities should prevent sewage releases into Tampa Bay. 

The city is working to complete many of the upgrades before the end of the summer.

“I'm optimistic that we're going to have a majority of the work done,” Kriseman said. “I'm optimistic that Mother Nature maybe will be a little kinder to us this year and we won't get the volumes of rain that were really historic in these last two years.”

Last year's storms forced the city to release more than 150 million gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay. 

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.