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Feds Close Investigation Into St. Petersburg Sewage Releases

A federal investigation into St. Petersburg’s sewage releases has been closed.

The city is still facing a state investigation and a civil suit after releasing about 200 million gallons of sewage onto city streets and into waterways since August 2015.   

St. Petersburg’s legal team met with the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during the investigation.

Federal officials said they dropped the investigation because the city is working with the state to improve the sewage system.

A consent order outlining specific upgrades to the city’s sewer system and fines for not complying was called detailed and meaningful by federal investigators, said assistant city attorney Joseph Patner.

"My takeaway is the federal investigation is closed in light of the state consent order,” Patner said. “It's good news.”

The city continues to work with the state on the parameters of the consent order. At some point, it will come before the council for approval, Patner said.

Patner said the investigation could always be reopened.

The city still faces a criminal investigation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a federal lawsuit filed by environmental groups.

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