One of St. Petersburg’s highest ranking sewage operators has filed for federal whistleblower protection, claiming the city was warned that closing a water treatment facility would result in sewage being dumped into Tampa-area waterways.
Since August 2015, St. Petersburg has dumped more than 190 million gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay and other local waterways. The sewage operator says city officials were warned this could happen when they shut down the Albert Whitted water treatment facility.
The man has sent a letter informing the mayor and City Council that he has filed for federal whistleblower protection, citing public safety.
In the document, he says he is “exercising my rights” under the whistleblower act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act “prohibiting retaliation against any employee who reports alleged violation relating to discharge of pollutants into water.”
The whistleblower letter claims a 2014 study showed St. Petersburg’s southwest water treatment plant “could not handle the flow due to high weather events” if Albert Whitted were to close.
Despite the concerns, the man claims the city closed the plant anyway without making the recommended upgrades to the southwest site.
Moving forward, the man recommends the city reopen the Albert Whitted facility until the necessary upgrades are complete.