St. Petersburg sewage pollution lawsuit expert reports
According to this analysis, St. Petersburg's economic benefit from failing to implement measures that would have prevented and reduced the amount of sewage pollution going into surface waters was approximately $17.4 million.
Plaintiffs' expert explains that St. Petersburg's wastewater system was inadequately managed, that the city knew of the problems that led to more than 200,000 gallons of raw and partially-treated sewage entering surface waters in late 2016, and that past enforcement attempts by state officials were ineffective.
Sewage pollution is harmful to the environment. In litigation, everything is debated and must be proved. This report explains the toxic elements and dangerous impacts of raw and partially-treated sewage, including as food/fuel for large algae blooms including red tide which lead to eutrophication and species die off. The waters impacted by St. Petersburg's sewage dumps are ecologically sensitive and highly valued for other beneficial uses including recreation, economic, aesthetic, and spiritual. All of these are diminished and impaired when sewage pollution is present.
When sewage overflows into our streets, homes, waters, and beaches, people who are exposed are at risk for serious illness. There are pathogens, bacteria, and chemicals in sewage that can be life threatening, particularly for vulnerable people and groups. Children, seniors, and people with compromised immune systems have increased risk of harm, but the extraordinary volumes of sewage released by St. Pete in 2016 (and previously) posed significant threats even to the healthiest people. The health risks were made far worse due to the closure of Albert Whitted sewage plant, which once treated waste from several downtown hospitals. Hospital waste often includes antibiotic resistant bacteria and pathogens. People should be informed and warned about potential exposure to these dangers, and those that were already exposed should be monitored for ongoing health impacts.