Since September 2002, Tampa Bay Water’s state-of-the-art surface water treatment plant has provided high-quality drinking water to the Tampa Bay region. The plant is the hub of the utility’s Enhanced Surface Water System—the first alternative water supply built to serve local governments that traditionally relied on groundwater.
When available, water is skimmed from the Tampa Bypass Canal, Hillsborough and Alafia rivers. Some is treated for immediate use at the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant, and surplus water is stored in the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir to supply the water treatment plant during dry times.
The amount of water supplied by the surface water treatment plant varies weekly depending on a number of factors, including how much river water is available. The plant can produce 99 million gallons per day (mgd) annual average and has a maximum rated capacity of 120 mgd.
The plant was built and expanded under a successful public-private partnership with Veolia Water, formerly USFilter. Under this Design-Build-Operate process, Tampa Bay Water is the owner of the plant, but Veolia designed, built and is under contract to operate the plant until 2023.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District co-funded a portion of the capital costs to build and expand the facility.
Surface water contains organic materials, which must be removed to make the water safe for drinking and aesthetically pleasing. The water must also be disinfected. The treated surface water produced by the regional treatment plants meets the high quality standards established by Tampa Bay Water’s members and is superior to both state and federal drinking water standards.