At its February 2023 meeting, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors approved a land exchange agreement that allows the utility to exchange land near the Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant with Hillsborough County, a move that will benefit both the County and Tampa Bay Water.
Hillsborough County will receive land to build a new emergency operations facility and provide additional parking at its Tournament Sportsplex of Tampa Bay facility. Tampa Bay Water will retain some of the land for future water quality improvements, capital projects and to expand the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant. Additionally, Hillsborough County agreed to grant easements for Tampa Bay Water's South Hillsborough Pipeline project to bring up to 65 million gallons of drinking water per day to Hillsborough County residents.
Tampa Bay Water acquired 433 acres in 1999 for the development of the Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant and the High Service Pump Station. In 2005, Tampa Bay Water sold 266 acres of the original property to Hillsborough County for government use. In 2019, the County requested to purchase an additional 27.4 acres of the remaining 43.3 acres of vacant land in exchange for adjacent vacant land the County did not need. Tampa Bay Water staff evaluated the short-, mid- and long-term property needs surrounding the regional plant and determined that the 27.4-acre parcel could be declared a surplus.
Through the agreement, Tampa Bay Water will acquire 16.1 acres from Hillsborough County, and Hillsborough County will acquire 27.4 acres from Tampa Bay Water. The agreement will net Tampa Bay Water $1.9 million plus $200,000 for future wetland mitigation costs, provide a secondary easement for access to Columbus Drive and grant easements for the new South Hillsborough Pipeline through the County’s adjacent property.