Reclaimed Water as a Potential Source

Using reclaimed water to augment drinking water sources, or potable reuse, is a concept that has been around for decades. Recently, it has gained more prominence as local utilities try to find more beneficial ways to reuse this resource.

Tampa Bay Water is exploring potable reuse options through its current Master Water Plan, which also includes additional desalination and additional surface water. Since reclaimed water is owned by the utility that generates it, Tampa Bay Water would fairly compensate the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County for any reclaimed water used or credits generated through our proposed reuse projects should they be selected.

Both the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County have reclaimed water projects for which they are seeking co-funding for feasibility studies and pilot testing from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). However, SWFWMD gives co-funding priority to regional projects, so individual utility water supply projects typically don't receive dollars.

In an effort to elevate the funding priority of those studies and further Florida's potable reuse knowledge base, Tampa Bay Water's board of directors on Monday directed staff to work cooperatively with its members on the feasibility studies and pilot projects. "We believe the information resulting from these studies will be useful to all utilities in the state," said Warren Hogg, PG., interim chief science and technology officer.

Results of the feasibility studies and pilot tests can be used to help evaluate projects in Tampa Bay Water's Master Water Plan. Current demand projections show the region will need an additional 10 million gallons per day of new drinking water by 2028. Projects to meet that demand are being evaluated to determine permittability, water quality, reliability, cost, environmental stewardship, how they impact the regional system, public acceptance and more. A ranked list of projects will be presented for consideration in December 2018.