Water-Related News

Delayed Tarpon Springs reverse osmosis plant nears completion

Construction of a long-awaited $45-million brackish water reverse-osmosis plant at the city of Tarpon Springs is close to completion a few weeks behind schedule.

The proposed plant, located north of the Anclote River, will desalinate brackish water from local wells. The city has secured 12 well sites, and up to 22 wells have been approved for the project.

Since the plant was approved in a 2006 referendum, legal and other delays have intervened. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection granted the City of Tarpon Springs a permit in January 2011 and construction began last year.

Until now, Tarpon Springs has relied on external water supplies but has long sought independence. The current combination of city-owned fresh groundwater treatment facilities and purchases from Pinellas County provide about 4 million gallons per day to Tarpon Springs. The reverse-osmosis water treatment plant will replace the water purchased from the county and will raise production to about 6.5 million gallons per day.

Of the $45-million budget, $20.1 million will come as a grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

According to utilities superintendent Raymond Page, key operating staff positions will be filled by early fiscal year 2015, which begins 1 October 2014, and full staff will be needed in the early months of calendar year 2015.