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Latvala, Pinellas Delegation To Huddle About Tampa Bay Sewage Spill

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
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The Florida Channel
Jack Latvala

Incoming Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala has called a special meeting of the Pinellas County legislative delegation for Sept. 20 to discuss the “catastrophic” release of millions of gallons of untreated sewage into Tampa Bay.

At the request of state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, Latvala said the delegation will meet at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus to review what local officials say is the unintended release of some 32 million gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay.

“I am as distressed as you are about this critical situation,” Latvala, R-Clearwater, said in a letter to Peters on Friday. “The recent media stories recounting the condition of Tampa Bay in the 1970s reminds us all where we came from and where we do not want to return."

Latvala said the meeting may also include a site visit to a nearby sewage treatment facility run by the city of St. Petersburg. Latvala said the issue is important to him because it was previous members of the delegation who led the fight decades ago to clean up Tampa Bay. “We cannot go backwards in our protection of the environment,” he said.