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Dispute Over Contamination Delays Stevenson Creek Dredging

Just how dirty is Stevenson Creek? And is a city sewage plant the cause? Those are the questions being raised as a dredging project on the polluted creek has ground to a halt.

Last summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a long-delayed dredging of the creek's 40-acre estuary in north Clearwater, which empties into Clearwater Harbor. But the work stopped last fall and has been at a standstill ever since.

That's because the Corps and its dredging contractor are arguing over just how polluted the creek is and how much money it will cost to do the job in contaminated waters. They remain at odds and appear to be headed for court.

The contractor, SEEK Enterprises of Brandon, says the creek bottom is layered with sewage sludge that has accumulated over decades. When it hired an Oldsmar lab to test the creek water, the tests found high levels of fecal coliform and other bacteria. ...