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St. Petersburg City Council committee agrees to $3.4 million to study sewer fix

The city's sewer system isn't perfect, but it could be worse.

That was the verdict delivered by Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley, summarizing a consultant study prompted by last summer's heavy rains, which overwhelmed the system and resulted in 16.5 million gallons of raw and partially-treated sewage dumped into Tampa and Boca Ciega bays.

Still,upgrading the capacity of the city's three sewer treatment plants, fixing leaky pipes and increasing storage capacity for wastewater could cost up to $100 million over the next eight years.

The first bill, initially approved by the council's Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee on Thursday, isn't quite so steep.

The comittee approved $3.4 million for a comprehensive study to find the system's weak points in its 800-plus miles of pipe and recommend fixes. The measure willl be voted on in a formal council vote later today.

Determining what exactly needs to be fixed is the most cost-efffective way to do it, officials said.