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Posted on: August 30, 2016

Contaminated Storm Water Advisory

Contaminated Stormwater Advisory Photo.jpg

When there are heavy rains and flooding, such as what the Tampa Bay area has been experiencing in recent days, our waterways may not meet State water quality standards. Flood waters pick up contaminants from roadways, industry, agriculture and residential yards. In addition, sometimes septic systems and sewer systems become inundated with storm water and/or rising groundwater. When this happens, wastewater may overflow and coming with floodwaters.
How long it may take for a water body to return to normal background conditions depends on many factors such as the rain intensity, volume of any wastewater released and the flow and depth of the receiving water body. As a general guideline, bacteria levels can remain elevated for at least three days after a significant rainstorm.
Public bathing places such as coastal beaches are routinely monitored by the Department of Health to ensure public safety. When results exceed safe levels, the Department of Health issues advisories and will close these areas to swimming until results meet standards for public beaches.
EPC has an extensive environmental monitoring program including approximately 260 sites. However, with 125 miles of major tributaries, 400 square miles comprising Tampa Bay, a 2200 square mile watershed, rainfall, and lab analysis requiring time for bacterial growth to determine concentration, our monitoring is only representative of the conditions at that particular location and time of sampling.
As a precaution, it is recommended citizens limit direct contact with standing water or any water body after heavy rains due to the potential for polluted runoff
Report sewage overflowing from manholes or pump stations to the following, based on location of the overflow:

- Hillsborough County Public Utility Department - or (813) 744-5600

- Plant City Utilities - (813) 727-9191

- City of Tampa Wastewater Department - (813) 259-1693

- City of Temple Terrace – (813) 506-6570

- Private Utility - For areas not serviced by a municipality, overflowing manholes or pump stations should be reported to the emergency phone number provided by the citizen’s private utility company which may be posted on the pump station, treatment plant fencing or provided on the customer bill.

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