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Harbour Island residents take issue with plans for sewage line replacement

Neighbors in Tampa’s Harbour Island are upset and want answers about the city’s plans to replace a sewage pipeline running through the middle of their community

“The more I find out about it, the more I’m scared that they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Larry Premak, president of the South Neighborhood Association.

With Downtown Tampa facing a major facelift thanks to Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, the reliability of the existing sewage pipeline could make a potential problem much more stinky.

“I didn’t realize we were essentially Tampa’s toilet going all the way up to Fowler Avenue. There is a lot of sewage going through us,” said resident Sam Hallenbeck. He’s lived in the neighborhood for 18 years.

Residents are essentially sitting on a ticking time bomb -- the pipeline put down in 1951 was only made to last 75 years. City leaders say it’s reaching its limit.

It runs through Harbor Island and ends at the Howard F. Curren Wastewater Treatment Plant. It carries 30 percent of the city's wastewater, which is more than 15 million gallons a day.

It's why Tampa leaders hosted a meeting Wednesday night to make residents aware of the problem and talk options for replacement.

Those options aren’t sitting well residents who say construction always takes longer than expected.