Hurricane Irma Released "250 Million Gallons Of Untreated Sewage" Into The Streets Of Florida

One could be forgiven for believing that, with all this talk of the coming “climate catastrophe,” Americans would be scrambling to flee Hurricane-prone states like Texas and Florida. The reality is just the opposite: Thanks to their low cost of living, and minimal taxes, Florida and Texas are among the states in the US where populations are rising via interstate migration. Contrast that with Connecticut, which is far less vulnerable to hurricanes, and where the population drain has accelerated dramatically in recent years.

Both Harvey and Irma impacted some of the fastest-growing counties in the US, exposing a problem that’s probably frustrated city and county officials for years. How to upgrade decades-old sewage and water-treatment systems.

When the storms struck, the ancient systems quickly failed, releasing millions of gallons of raw sewage into city streets and canals, complicating the cleanup effort, according to Bloomberg:

“Millions of gallons of poorly treated wastewater and raw sewage flowed into the bays, canals and city streets of Florida from facilities serving some of the nation’s fastest-growing counties. In fact, 4 of the 10 fastest-growing coastal counties in the eastern U.S. are in Florida. More than 9 million gallons of releases tied to Irma have been reported as of late Tuesday as inundated plants were submerged, forced to bypass treatment or lost power.”

Of course, this problem requires a monumentally expensive fix: The Environmental Protection Agency estimated last year that $271 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s wastewater pipes, treatment plants and associated infrastructure. In fact, many parts of Florida and Texas face infrastructure challenges even when they aren’t deluged by rain because of rapid population growth.

Otherwise, populations risk the spread of pathogens with every overflow.

Estimates for scale of the untreated and poorly treated wastewater that leaked because of both Irma and Harvey are expected to keep climbing. Even Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, which were modest compared with this year’s storms, released some 250 million gallons of wastewater that hadn’t been fully treated between Aug. 31 and Oct. 15, 2016, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

A treatment facility in Clearwater, Fla. Leaked 1.6 million gallons of wastewater into a creek, according to filings with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. And that incident paled in comparison to a 30-million-gallon discharge of raw sewage after Hurricane Hermine caused pumps to fail, according to David Porter, the city’s public utilities director.

Electrical outages throughout the state caused lift station pumps to stop running in St. Petersburg and Orlando, prompting at least 500,000 gallons of spillage. A pipeline broke in Miramar, Florida, sending sewage spilling across a parkway – creating a nasty scene for the contractors who had to hunt for the rupture. And operators of a Miami-area wastewater treatment plant blamed a power outage for 6 million gallons of sewage released into Biscayne Bay.

Of course, this isn’t limited to a regional issue: Hurricane Sandy also unleashed a flood of sewage when it struck New York and New Jersey in 2012:

“After Hurricane Sandy ravaged the northeast US in 2012, damaged treatment plants and pumping stations caused untreated sewage to flow into local waterways for weeks. All told, facilities in the eight states hardest hit by the super storm released 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage, according to one assessment.”

And as Bloomberg explains, loose sewage poses lingering public-health and economic risks to a community…

“Sewage discharges carry both health and economic risks, as officials may order the closing of affected beaches and rivers for swimming and boating long after storm clouds have passed. When untreated water or raw sewage is spilled, it can deliver toxic chemicals from roads, E. coli from human waste and other pathogens that have the potential to cause viruses, parasitic infections, rashes and other health conditions.”

…Because the pollution can often be difficult to detect.

"We focus on the water and the flooding and the impacts to homes and everything else, which is super important," said Danielle Droitsch, a program director with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But understanding environmental contamination issues is more complicated. We don’t necessarily see the pollution, sometimes you can’t smell it and yet it’s there."

And while there’s no such thing as a perfect sewer system…

"There’s no sewer system in the world that can be built that’s completely leak proof," said Nathan Gardner-Andrews, chief advocacy officer for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Plants generally are designed to handle twice their normal capacity, but "when you get some of these rain events and you’re talking four to six to eight inches of rain in an hour, the engineering is such that you cannot build a system to hold that capacity."

…Some sewage systems in rapidly growing southern counties, including the Florida counties affected by Irma, are more than 50 years old, and they demand immediate attention.

“Aging infrastructure may not be able to keep up with the demands of a surging southern population. In many cases, such as in south Florida, elements of the sewer system range from 60 to 70 years old, with pipelines that are even older, said Kelly Cox, a staff attorney and program director for the environmental group Miami Waterkeeper.”


“You throw a hurricane on top of that, and you are starting to see a lot more problems," she said.

Talk about a sh—storm…


Ms No Adullam Fri, 09/15/2017 - 07:57 Permalink

Speaking of shit, Arpaio is attempting to do some speaking engagements.  A conservative group is going to give him a "courage under fire" award in Vegas.  Turns out that violent thugs representing the interests of a foreign nation and Bolshevism will be in large numbers due to a Mexican festival, and have led to them having to move the ceremony at an "undisclosed location".  Patriots have to hid but those representing foreign and subversive interests rule with violence.  

In reply to by Adullam

Praetorian Guard Ajax-1 Fri, 09/15/2017 - 00:09 Permalink

Or Cholera, Dysentery, Campylobacteriosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Escherichia coli Diarrhea, Encephalitis, Gastroenteritis, Giardiasis, Hepatitis A, Leptospirosis, and other "shitty"diseases... watch, that will be the next outbreak. COME JOIN US FOR FREE AT WWW.GUNSGRUBANDGOLD.COMALL ARE WELCOME!!!

In reply to by Ajax-1

illuminatus (not verified) Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:01 Permalink

Hmm Hurricane Irma released all that shit? Musta been one hell of a bout of diarrhea.  Who wrote this headline? Is this the Enquirer now?

JRobby illuminatus (not verified) Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:40 Permalink

Normal grass does not grow in Florida.What grows is a vine grass hybrid developed in a lab. You have to bomb it with fertilizer, pesticides and of course a lot of water to keep it green and keep the bugs from eating the roots.Shit show 

In reply to by illuminatus (not verified)

Proctologist Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:05 Permalink

I call B.S.

FLA is a hurricane zone. Sewers in metro areas in the Midwest and northeast are often twice the age range of FLA's 50-70 years. They don't work like new, but are often serviceable.

Of course they need to be replaced in FLA, because they're too small and in a hurricane zone. Not because they're 50 years old.

NoWayJose Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:07 Permalink

Hurricane Irma unleashed 250 million gallons of untreated sewage - but got the homeless off the streets which prevented them from depositing 300 million gallons of urine and feces on the streets. Ever 'smell' the shady sections of big Florida cities???

pocomotion Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:10 Permalink

TRACE MY POOP techno downloadable app is now available for download.  I just wrote this app to keep track of my shit.  Yes, FECAL RECOGNITION HAS ARRIVED. Stank outside the tank floating down the streets is wonderful addition to any post-hurricane community.  Bring it!

shimmy Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:13 Permalink

Global warmism is to blame. Waste water would be clean and great without the phantom warming not taking place. That or people's shit wouldn't carry diseases. Just blame everything throughout history that is negative on global warming. I'm surprised these morons haven't blamed the former atlantic slave trade on global warming...assuming they haven't. I am too scared to do a search to see if they have. 

FoggyWorld Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:13 Permalink

And after Sandy, those  FEMA big bucks you read about were sent to the Governor who deicded which counties would get a share.  Then the county politicans spread it around to the towns.  It was sent to repair infrastructure.A few streets were repaved but in our area most of the money went inland where the storm hadn't hit.  So we got new police cars and fire trucks that are kept five miles away from the flood areas.  And a water program equally distant was taken on but next to none of the money sent went for infrastructure.FEMA audited a miniscule number of homeowners for NFIP false claims but none of the huge amounts that went through the hands of politicians were ever audited. FEMA itself needs some infrastructure repair and it and the recipients of its largesse (taxpayer dollars) ought to be held accountable via serious audits.