The issues with red tide along the southern gulf coast of Florida may lead to questions about the effects on our drinking water supply. Tampa Bay Water’s regional drinking water supplies are unaffected by red tide for several reasons.
Tampa Bay Water takes multiple steps in protecting the drinking water supply from red tide, or any type of algal bloom. We monitor all our sources for indicators and precursors to potential algal blooms, which serves as an early warning system.
The regional system uses three sources of water: groundwater, river water and desalinated seawater. A major benefit of having such a diverse system is its flexibility. If our continual monitoring were to show a potential for algal blooms in one source, we could stop taking water and use other sources.
The only facility that could be affected by red tide is the desalination plant, located in Apollo Beach, but that plant is currently offline since surface water is abundant. The seawater desalination plant will resume operations later this year, and is equipped with multi-step filtration and disinfection to remove red tide algae, should it persist.