The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the judgment of the trial court in the lawsuit over cracked soil-cement at the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir. The decision was issued on Monday, September 23.
While the outcome of the appeal was not favorable for the people of the Tampa Bay region, the judicial system has made its decision and the agency must continue to focus its attention on the future. Tampa Bay Water’s number one priority is, and always has been, its commitment to provide clean, safe, drinking water to the region.
Tampa Bay Water is responsible for providing a safe and reliable water supply to more than 2.3 million people in our three-county region. When the reservoir, a major component in our ability to meet this objective, began to fail only a year after construction, we owed it to the people of the Tampa Bay region to demand accountability from the organizations we believe are responsible.
Tampa Bay Water’s legal decisions in the case were made based on our honest assessment of what was in the best interest of the community. When we learned the reservoir was not performing as intended, we took legal action to protect the public’s investment.
We still believe the engineering firm did not meet the expectations of the agency or the community, and that they should be held accountable for their performance.
Our board will discuss its options moving forward at its October 21 board meeting.
Meanwhile, a fix for the region’s reservoir is well underway and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2014. Since last February, construction crews have worked to remove the cracked soil-cement, the old soil wedge and the old geomembrane liner. They are installing a new geomembrane liner and beginning to install a rock layer for drainage, the key component missing from the original design.
Our contractor is renovating from “the bottom up” so we are ready to take advantage of plentiful summer rains in July 2014. If approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tampa Bay Water will partially fill the reservoir next summer to save water for the 2015 spring dry season.
This long-term fix ensures that the region’s reservoir, a key component of our surface water system, is reliable and fully functional long-term. That’s why Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors approved the Reservoir Renovation Project: to provide a long-term fix that will restore the facility to its intended use.
For more information and updates on the Reservoir Renovation Project, please visit tampabaywater.org/reservoir and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.