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Water-Related News

Tampa Bay still vulnerable to flooding despite major upgrades

Hundreds of millions have been spent on upgrades, but a major storm is still a threat.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ask anyone who drives in South Tampa. When it comes to flooding, they all know the usual suspects.

The city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods were exposed when record rainfall fell in August 2015, leaving cars stranded and homes and businesses flooded.

Since then, Tampa had passed a new set of taxes and fees allowing it to implement a 10-year plan – a total of $251 million for cleanup and construction.

Several projects are already underway, expanding capacity.

In addition to construction, maintenance projects will keep water moving.

“We have cleaned out outfalls to the tune of about 600 tons of material,” said Tampa Public Works Administrator Brad Baird. “We cleaned out ponds of almost 400 tons of material. All to make the system function better.”

Aside from construction, Tampa improvements in just the first year and a half include:

  • 18.8 miles of stormwater ditch grading
  • 136.8 miles of stormwater pipe inspections and cleaning
  • 20,473 curb miles swept
  • 6,944 tons of debris swept up

In St. Petersburg, the same floodwaters overwhelmed the city's sewers.

Areas that typically flood, like Shore Acres on the city’s west side, were isolated for days.

Since then, St. Pete has also spent millions to expand capacity.