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St. Petersburg clarifies rules after unreported wastewater spills

After the city failed to notify the public through its usual channels to two recent wastewater spills, city officials formalized a procedure to reduce "human error."

ST. PETERSBURG — City officials admitted Thursday that they had failed to post two notices of recent wastewater spills on the city's website, which has been the city’s practice.

The discussion at a City Council meeting followed a Tampa Bay Times story last week that documented six recent wastewater incidents that together spilled a combined 2 million gallons. The worst spill dumped 1.7 million gallons of contaminated water into the lake at Walter Fuller Park over a 50-day period before it was corrected, prompting the city to install warning signs around the lake. Officials posted notifications on the city's website and through its social media channels for only four of those incidents.

"Admittedly, we had two times over these past recent spills... where that didn't happen," said Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Kanika Tomalin. "That's unacceptable."