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Desalination Plant Fully Operational


The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant is fully operational, providing the Tampa Bay region with up to 25 million gallons per day (mgd) of drinking water. The plant is the nation's largest seawater desalination facility.

When operating at full capacity, the plant provides about 10 percent of the Tampa Bay region’s drinking water supply. The plant is operated by American Water and Acciona Agua, through their joint venture subsidiary American Water-Pridesa.

In December 2007, the plant successfully completed and passed its performance test, marking the end of remediation and the beginning of full operational status for the nation’s largest seawater desalination facility.

The 14-day acceptance test measured plant performance in a number of areas including commercial power reliability, influent water quality, quality of pretreated water, chemical usage, cartridge filter usage, energy usage, membrane operations, finished water quality and more.

During remediation, multiple corrections were made to the pretreatment, reverse osmosis and post treatment systems.  Overhauling the pretreatment system was required as the original system was not rigorous enough to filter particles out of the seawater, which caused the plant's cartridge filters and desalinating membranes to clog too quickly.  Plant remediation included:

  • The addition of screens to remove incoming debris from source water.

  • The addition of a variable speed capability cooling water pump, which enables water temperatures at the intake to be maintained.

  • A rapid mixing of treatment chemicals and conditioning prior to filtration, which causes suspended solids to clump making them easier to remove.

  • Converting the Dyna Sand filtration system from dual stage to single stage.

  • The addition of diatomaceous earth filters to further clean the seawater after it has gone through coagulation, flocculation and sand filtration.

  • A redesigned reverse osmosis membrane cleaning system, which will provide more effective cleaning of the membranes after use and extend membrane life.

This page was last modified: 5/12/2008 3:04:34 PM

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