ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Some neighbors are worried about the health issues that could result from the raw sewage that spilled into Riviera Bay over the weekend.

On Monday, St. Petersburg city officials updated the public that the spill from over the weekend has been contained, however, worries still linger around Tallahassee Drive Northeast after 10,000 gallons of the wastewater spilled.

“We’re upset for the neighbors who were out on the water over the weekend,” Debbie Bross said. “Now they’re taking their children to the doctor because they’re afraid and we don’t have answers.”

Many people learned about the issue on Monday and we’re frustrated that the message wasn’t prevalent when the situation unfolded over the weekend.

“The way they’ve delivered the message is lacking,” Byron Bates said. “There’s a lot we don’t know, including how long it was leaking before it was discovered.”

The city of St. Petersburg said emails were sent to residents and HOAs about the issue. However, they believe that more response is needed during a critical time, especially since the public was exposed to raw sewage.

“This is a public health issue that must be contained,” said Walter L. Smith, an epidemiologist and environmental engineer. “We have a much bigger issue that we have to deal with.  Not only will people ultimately get sick, then you have a larger number of people who could get sick.”

Meanwhile, the public is advised to avoid contact with Riviera Bay until further notice and water quality testing can be completed.

“You typically see a reaction pretty quickly,” said Dr. Jim Ivey, an environmental science professor at the University of South Florida. “So, if you see an infection, make sure you go to the doctor.  If you do have a wound, make sure it’s clean. If you’re not experiencing dysentery, then you probably didn’t swallow enough of it.”

Dr. Ivey said that the city’s plan to replace the pipe will lessen the chance of another raw sewage spill from happening.

“It’s concerning. but these spills happen,” said Dr. Ivey.  “It’s the nature of our plumbing systems.  Our system is fairly old, and the city is going to replace the pipe which is a good thing.”

On Monday, the St. Petersburg officials announced plans to expedite the construction of a new pipe. The project was set to begin in 2025. 

“Aging infrastructure is a national challenge,” St. Petersburg Water Resources Director John Palenchar said. “This section of pipe was installed in the 1960s and about a mile of it right here along San Martin Boulevard was budgeted for replacement at one point in time for a cost of about $3 million. This project is being accelerated. Rather than patching a section of the pipe, a complete replacement of a pipe is going to be performed,” he said.

Road closures are expected at the San Martin Boulevard Bridge as the city continues construction.

The sewer line will be rerouted with a bypass as the work is being completed.

The full replacement of the pipe will take one to two years.