10 News prompts change to St. Pete bridge work

8:08 PM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- The City of St. Pete is taking action after 10 News revealed to the Water Resource Department that hired contractors were dumping paint chips into the water.

On Tuesday, painters were back at the 40th Avenue NE bridge, but things were different than before.

"What do you guys see on a normal basis on the water?"

"Manatees. Dolphins. Snook," says Scott Gramling and Lou Schovanec, neighbors who live along Placido Bayou.

For neighbors Scott Gramling and Lou Schovanec, it's the marine life they see daily that makes living on the water so unique.

"We're fishing constantly," says Gramling.

So you can imagine how upsetting it was when streams of paint chips floating in the ocean were seen in photographs.

"I had not heard of it until recently. That's no good. That's not good for the environment," says Gramling.

But ever since 10 News addressed the City about the paint chips problem, they have made sure nothing like this would ever happen again. They made the contractors shut down operation for a week, addressing them about the policies and regulations.

They resumed work on Monday and tarps were back along the bridge in addition to an extra tarp that was not there before in hopes to collect any paint chips that may fall into the water.

PHOTOS: Contractors add tarps to bridge painting project

"The City not being on top of it like they should have been is a little worrisome, but it looks like you guys have taken the next step -- so happy to hear that," says Schovanec.

For Gramling and Schovanec, they're just happy things are now cleaned up so they can go back to enjoying the reason they live on the water in the first place.

"Fishing is much better," says Gramling.

The City also took water samples from under the bridge after our story aired. The good news is that preliminary tests show positive results, but they are still waiting to hear back from the lab for a final testing report. 

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