More than 100 million gallons of wastewater flowed onto St. Petersburg's streets and into Tampa Bay when Tropical Storms Colin and Hermine hit last year. The city is proposing drilling six new injection wells to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Last year's spills took place when St. Petersburg's aging sewage system was overwhelmed by storm water. Bill Logan, a spokesman for the city's public works department, said the system didn't have enough capacity.
In wet weather, reclaimed water that St. Pete residents normally use on their lawns accumulates in the city's underground reservoirs instead. During last year's storms, that wastewater buildup spilled over.
The city has outlined a plan to increase the amount of wastewater that its system can handle. Logan said the six new injection wells will reach 1,000 feet into the ground and funnel treated wastewater into a confined space beneath the Floridan Aquifer.
"The topography under Pinellas County is convenient to our wastewater treatment plants," Logan explained.
St. Petersburg already has eight injection wells in operation.
"This is something that the city has done for decades, and there hasn't been a problem," Logan said. "The process is on to increase that capacity so that we can get rid of more of this water."
Each injection well will cost around $2 million and take between three and six months to build.