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Applause, At Last, For Desalination Plant


The Tampa Tribune
December 22, 2007


Tampa Bay Water's desalination plant is finally up and running, four years late.
Nothing seemed to go right on the project, watched by water-restricted
communities around the world.

Bankruptcies, lawsuits, even exotic snails that clogged filters plagued the venture.

But the plant now is operating without interruption, transforming Tampa Bay's
brackish water into pristine drinking water at the rate of 25 million gallons a day.

The desalination plant's production represents 10 percent of the region's water
supply. Most importantly, it's drought-proof water that allows the utility to
pump less groundwater and take less water from local rivers.

The plant, the largest currently operating in the nation, can be expanded to
produce 35 million gallons of water a day.

No question, Tampa Bay Water made some blunders along the way, particularly in
choosing its original partners and failing to recognize the importance of the
pretreatment system. Project costs gushed from $110 million to $158 million.
But Tampa Bay Water's governing board deserves credit for sticking with the
plan, sorting through the problems and making sure this alternative water
resource became a success.

Thanks to the board's perseverance, the region has a water source that,
regardless of rainfall, will help meet growing water needs without compromising natural resources.

 

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