Water-Related News

North county reclaimed water shutdowns

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Pinellas County Utilities shut down the North County reclaimed water system on Nov. 2 after 8 a.m. due to critical low levels in the retention pond and excessive user demand during the overnight hours. Additional shutdowns are required to allow for storage level recovery and to avoid damaging infrastructure. These additional shutdowns of the system will begin on Saturday, Nov. 5, and will be in effect until further notice.

The additional shutdowns will be from 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Utilities will try to keep the system in operation from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, if supply allows, for irrigation system testing and professional maintenance only.

The North County reclaimed water system is routinely shut down from 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays for storage level recovery. That routine schedule will still be in place.

Homeowners performing testing or maintenance on irrigation systems must do so before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. on one of their authorized watering days only. Testing and maintenance can only be done once per week and the run time of the irrigation system may not exceed 10 minutes.

Utilities is encouraging North County reclaimed water customers to follow the two-day-per-week restrictions currently in place to avoid service interruptions and to avoid a return to one-day-per-week restrictions.

North county reclaimed water customers may currently water twice weekly, based on house address according to the following schedule:

  • Addresses ending in even numbers may irrigate on Tuesday and/or Saturday.
  • Addresses ending odd numbers may irrigate on Wednesday and/or Sunday.
  • Mixed address properties or those without an address such as common areas, may irrigate on Wednesday and/or Saturday.
  • Irrigating with reclaimed water is prohibited between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In an effort to provide more reclaimed water to residential customers, Pinellas County Utilities has also contacted north county golf courses and requested them to switch to their augmentation wells for irrigation.

Prior to the shut down this morning, North County customers had used approximately 15-million gallons of reclaimed water in the previous 24-hour period, exhausting the stored operational supply. The William E. Dunn Water Reclamation Facility is able to produce 6.5-million gallons of reclaimed water each day, which would be a sufficient supply if customers follow the recommended irrigation schedule. However, as a result of actual customer use, demand exceeded the generated supply. In addition, rainfall totals have been lower in recent weeks and rain inflows into the retention pond have been non-existent.

Over-watering is common. Customers are encouraged to develop and follow best maintenance practices for lawn care. In the Pinellas County area, lawns need one-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every two to three weeks during the cooler months. Irrigation should only take place when grass shows signs of wilt. To learn more about Florida Friendly Landscaping, visit www.pinellascounty.org/extension.

The Pinellas County reclaimed water program underscores a key component of Pinellas County’s Strategic Plan: reducing, reusing and recycling resources including energy, water and solid waste.

For more information about reclaimed water restrictions, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/reclaim-irrigation.htm. For more information about Pinellas County Utilities, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities.