Hillsborough County water customers in south-central Hillsborough are now receiving higher quality water thanks to a new hydrogen sulfide removal facility at the Lithia Water Treatment Plant.
In addition to noticing improved odor and taste, residents may also notice that the tap water occasionally appears cloudy white due to tiny oxygen bubbles. This may be more apparent until the new process is further refined. The water is safe to drink. The bubbles are created by the new ozone process that is removing hydrogen sulfide and its characteristic rotten egg smell from groundwater supplied to the Lithia plant. The oxygen bubbles should dissipate after the water sits for a few minutes.
Water customers in south-central Hillsborough communities, such as Apollo Beach, Brandon, Riverview, Ruskin and Sun City Center, began receiving water treated with ozone in early July. Ozone is a safe, affordable and efficient method used to disinfect water and improve taste and odor in treatment plants all over the world.
With the start-up and testing of the new ozone facility and plant improvements, Hillsborough County’s 20-year-old hydrogen sulfide removal process is being retired, and with it, the occasional sulfur smell that emanated from the old facility.
Tampa Bay Water constructed the new hydrogen sulfide removal facility. The construction and property acquisition cost was approximately $34.7 million and was funded through construction bonds and Tampa Bay Water’s wholesale water rate.
Hillsborough County Public Utilities made several modifications at the Lithia plant in order to integrate the new ozone treatment process into daily operations. These included reconfiguring chemical feed systems and related piping, upgrading chemical analyzers and controls, and constructing a new segment for the pipeline which brings water into the plant from Tampa Bay Water’s regional system.
For more information about the project, go to tampabaywater.org.
Hillsborough County is a member of Tampa Bay Water. The Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department provides an average of 50 million gallons of drinking water a day to 535,000 people in unincorporated Hillsborough County, and treats about 36 million gallons of wastewater a day.
Tampa Bay Water is Florida’s largest wholesale water provider. The agency provides wholesale drinking water to its member governments of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.