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Plan To Reuse Tampa's Wastewater Up For Thursday Vote

Hillsborough River dam
Southwest Florida Water Management District
This is an aerial view of the city of Tampa's reservoir on the Hillsborough River

The plan would dump highly treated wastewater downstream from the city's drinking water intake pipes on the Hillsborough River.

Another plan to purify and reuse Tampa's wastewater will come up for a vote Thursday. A similar plan was nixed two years ago, but was changed to reflect those concerns.

City council members are being asked to spend $650,000 to launch a plan to dump highly treated wastewater downstream from the city's reservoir on the Hillsborough River.

That differs from a failed 2019 plan, which would have pumped treated wastewater into the underground aquifer. Under that plan, derided as "toilet to tap,''
the city would have re-pumped the treated wastewaster into the city's reservoir before being treated again as drinking water.

This latest version would have a higher level of treatment for the wastewater. Also, the average of 50 million gallons of wastewater discharged a day would augment local river levels and keep salt water out of nearby Sulphur Springs.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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