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Old June 9th, 2006, 03:22 AM   #1
John F
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Tampa Bay Water Management Discussion

With all the development talk on the site, I thought I'd bring up one piece of development that has been pretty much written off and ignored (as well as a failure up to this point). Especially with the weather as it's been lately and a dire lack of rain.

The Hillsborough Desalinization plant
http://www.tampabaywater.org/watersu...loverview.aspx

The reason why I alluded to this plant being a failure up until this point is because of this:

Quote:
The desalination plant is off line while deficiencies in the design and construction of the pretreatment and intake processes, as well as the reverse osmosis and intake processes, are fixed. Tampa Bay Water anticipates the plant will be operation by Fall 2006.
I think this closure has lasted more than 2 years and operation was a couple of weeks total. Someone please correct me on that.

The plant is the first large one of it's kind in the United States. It's a shame they can't get the thing up and running correctly.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 03:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F
With all the development talk on the site, I thought I'd bring up one piece of development that has been pretty much written off and ignored (as well as a failure up to this point). Especially with the weather as it's been lately and a dire lack of rain.

The Hillsborough Desalinization plant
http://www.tampabaywater.org/watersu...loverview.aspx

The reason why I alluded to this plant being a failure up until this point is because of this:



I think this closure has lasted more than 2 years and operation was a couple of weeks total. Someone please correct me on that.

The plant is the first large one of it's kind in the United States. It's a shame they can't get the thing up and running correctly.
that site says it should be up sometime in November
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Old June 9th, 2006, 03:44 AM   #3
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But the fact is that it's been closed for years on end since it "opened" briefly.

I quoted the site and posted that they project the plant to be open this fall. I just am skeptical to believe it right now... Or even if it does open, I have this feeling the plant isn't going to meet capacity goals with thanks to one or more screw ups that continue to plague the plant.

I could be wrong, and for the regions sake, I hope I am wrong.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #4
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Don't get me started on this. A large part of my innocent childhood was consumed by my maniacal family trying to thwart the construction/opening of this plant.

ETA - once and for all, is it desalination or desalinization? I've heard both..... ? Desalination reads correctly, but it is quite common to see desalinization used.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 11:36 PM   #5
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Beats me, my spelling sucks in either case. :p
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Old June 10th, 2006, 05:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F
Beats me, my spelling sucks in either case. :p
Both work.... both redirect to the same page in the wikipedia and my spell-checker accepts both. I guess it doesn't mater?
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Old July 10th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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Tampa Desalination Plant - Still not completed.

Desal plant still not finished
By CRAIG PITTMAN
Published July 10, 2007

Tampa Bay Water's troubled desalination plant has been producing millions of gallons of water a day for months. But more than four years after it was supposed to be finished, the plant still isn't done and there is still no completion date in sight.

A crucial test for the plant, which the utility's Web site says would be completed in the spring, still has not occurred. The company repairing the plant, which has now missed three deadlines, has not scheduled a date for it.

"We're not able to give you a specific date," American Water Pridesa spokeswoman Kimberly Cooper said Monday.

Company officials have repeatedly promised to have the plant ready for testing by a certain date only to push the test back.

"They've gotten a lot smarter -- they're not giving us one," said utility chairwoman Susan Latvala, a Pinellas County commissioner. "And we're not pushing them for it."

The problem isn't producing water, but rather producing it efficiently to keep the cost to customers reasonable, Latvala said. Right now, it's not doing that.

"We want to see it operate at the level we built into the budget," she said. "If it's significantly more expensive, that causes problems."

So the test may not occur before the end of the summer, nearly a year after American Water's original deadline.

Permitting and construction of the Apollo Beach plant, the largest in the United States, was launched in 1999. It was set to begin operating by 2003, aiding the utility with an alternative source of drinking water.

The plant was designed to take 40-million gallons of seawater a day from Tampa Bay, filter out the salt and turn it into 25-million gallons of drinking water, lessening the environmental impact of pumping groundwater.

But the plant has been plagued by problems, ranging from contractors going bankrupt and Asian green mussels clogging its water intakes to the discovery that many of the plant's water pumps had rusted.

The plant finally produced its first 3-million gallons in March 2003. Local officials toasted success with plastic cups.

The celebration was premature. In May 2003, the plant flunked a crucial test of whether it was operational, known as the "acceptance test." Until the plant passes the test, Tampa Bay Water will not accept the project as completed.

The problem seemed to be in the pretreatment process, which removes impurities before the briny water is pumped through membranes to screen out salt. Although the plant was producing near its capacity, the expensive membranes were fouling far too quickly, which could wear them out too soon.

Tampa Bay Water set its rates based on each membrane lasting five to seven years. Replacing them more often would drive up rates.

The company that built the plant, Covanta, was unable to fix the problem. Ultimately, Tampa Bay Water voted to pay it $4.4-million to go away so someone else could fix the plant and run it for the next 30 years.

But the bidding process turned up other problems. As a result, bids to repair the plant came in above the $14-million estimate, driving up the potential per-gallon cost to the 2-million Tampa Bay residents whose water comes from the utility.

The German-Spanish consortium that won the contract, American Water Pridesa, bid $29-million. Company officials promised to finish repairing the plant and be ready for the new acceptance test by October 2006. They missed that deadline, a second one in December 2006, and another in March.

In an April 2 report to Tampa Bay Water's board, executive director Jerry Maxwell wrote that "the time schedule for the project completion and start-up is challenging."

Four days later the revamped plant began producing water again. By April 16, Eric Sabolsice, project director for American Water Pridesa, predicted that, barring unforeseen problems, the plant should be ready to undergo the rigorous acceptance test in two to three weeks. He was wrong.

For more than three months, the plant has produced up to 18-million gallons of water a day, helping Tampa Bay Water cope with demand during the recent drought, company officials said.

But the acceptance test still hasn't been carried out, and may not for the remainder of the summer because of problems with the sand filtering the water before it hits the membranes. The sand filters are clogging too often.

"Changes are required in the sand filters to achieve required performance and reach the 25-mgd design capacity," American Water board member Kent Turner said in a news release. "It will take additional time to correct this problem."

At June's utility board meeting, Turner told board members this setback is different from all the others that have afflicted the project because his consortium is different.

"I guarantee you American Water or Pridesa or neither one is close to bankruptcy and we are not ready to walk away from this," he said. Turner said the fate of the entire desal industry worldwide, and the future of his company, hinge on the success of the Apollo Beach plant.

Tampa Bay Water spokeswoman Michelle Biddle Rapp said the utility is willing to wait a little longer to make sure the plant is up to snuff.

"We believe that it is best to allow AWP to take the additional time to improve these processes instead of rushing into the testing process," Rapp said.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, a utility board member, said in an e-mail that ever since she joined the board in April 2003 "the desal project has been nothing but one problem after another. There always appears to be another complication -- another reason for a delay. Hopefully it will get to completion with the ability to produce the amount of water as promised."

Fast Facts:

Time line

1999: Tampa Bay Water hires Stone & Webster to a build desalination plant.

2000: Stone & Webster goes bankrupt. Covanta Energy hired to replace it.

2002: Covanta files for bankruptcy, creates subsidiary to continue building the plant.

2003: The desalination plant flunks tests, deemed incomplete; Covanta subsidiary goes bankrupt.

2004: Tampa Bay Water pays Covanta subsidiary $4.4-million to walk away and hires American Water Pridesa to fix the plant for $29-million.

October 2006: American Water misses deadline to fix plant; says it will be ready for testing by December.

November 2006: American Water says fix won't be done until after Jan. 1.

December 2006: American Water says fix will be complete by March 30.

March 2007: Contractor misses deadline.

July 2007: Testing postponed indefinitely.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 03:50 AM   #8
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Link, publisher, wtf?
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:40 AM   #9
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^ The SP Times ran it today

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/07/10/Hi...till_not.shtml

It produces water, but needs repairs and a crucial test that has not been scheduled.

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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #10
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What a disaster. This should have been built on the Gulf vs. on Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay has too many microbes and sediment that easily clogs the filters. We would not be having this problem if it were built in Pinellas or furthur south and used cleaner water. We have spent just about the same amount of money to fix the thing as we did to build it. Perhaps we should just move it to a better location instead of pumping more and more money into it.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #11
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I think the location was decided upon for power requirements, reverse osmosis sucks a lot of juice and so putting it next to Big Bend makes sense (though they could have laid an intake pipe out to cleaner water). But it's fairly obvious that this is still an in-development technology.
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Old July 12th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #12
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^Maybe here it is, but not in other parts of the world.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #13
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I'm just sick of the years of constant mess with this plant. Either they get it fixed or things are going to get real ugly...
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:37 PM   #14
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^Things are already real ugly. But as usual, it's the taxpayers who foots the bill and suffers the cost, not the for-profit corporations that actually screwed up.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #15
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Doesn't sound like there was a lot of profit making on this, almost everyone who touched it went into bankruptcy.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #16
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Desal plant passes last test

Desal plant passes last test

The project to augment the bay area's supply of drinking water cost $158-million.

The St Petersburg Times
By MICHAEL VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 18, 2007

http://www.sptimes.com/2007/12/18/Hi...asses_la.shtml




It took four years of delays and nearly $30-million in repairs, but Tampa Bay Water's troubled desalination plant is completed and pumping at full throttle after clearing a final obstacle.

The nation's largest seawater desalination plant passed a November performance test it first flunked in 2003. The results of the test were announced during Monday's Tampa Bay Water board meeting and mean the plant is no longer under construction.

The utility is now depending on the plant to supply up to 25-million gallons of water every day to the utility's customers in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

"What this means is we have a large supply of water that's drought-proof," said Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, a Tampa Bay Water board member. "It doesn't matter what the conditions are, we have this water. With everyone from Atlanta to other parts of the country facing water supply issues, this is a huge deal."

The plant filters out salt from water drawn from Tampa Bay and provides about 10 percent of what the utility needs every day for its 2.5-million customers, said Jerry Maxwell, Tampa Bay Water's general manager.

"It's a lot of water when you're in a dry period," Maxwell said. "Without it, you'd be contemplating doing things that wouldn't meet environmental stewardship standards so that you could meet public health standards."

Tampa Bay Water embarked on the project, which has a total cost of nearly $158-million, to avoid future water shortages and environmental damage from depleted groundwater supplies.

But the new plant, relying on experimental technologies, was bedeviled from the beginning by an assortment of problems.

Its first contractor went bankrupt in 2000. The replacement firm, Covanta Energy, went bankrupt in 2002.

The plant failed its first performance test in 2003, and the Covanta subsidiary that had continued to build the plant subsequently went bankrupt.

In 2004, Tampa Bay Water hired American Water Pridesa to fix the plant for $29-million. But in October 2006, the plant again missed a deadline.

Testing was postponed indefinitely this July and the utility teetered on the brink of an uncertain future. But during a 14-day period from late October to November, it passed muster. It has produced 3-billion gallons of water this year.

A key improvement was in the plant's pretreatment process. Unlike in previous tests, the membranes that filtered out salt didn't wear out as quickly.

"When you're doing a project of that size and in a way that's never been done before, you're going to have problems," said Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda, a Tampa Bay Water board member.

"It all worked out, at least seemingly," Miranda said. "Something may change, who knows? But this is a giant step in the right direction."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at mvansickler@sptimes.com or 813 226-3402.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #17
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Hopefully they have perfected the process, and repeating will be easier (which will surely be necessary, like it or not).

I rather like the idea of being able to get water without totally trashing the regional watershed or aquifer... Not so sure how I feel about another one of those things increasing the salinity of the bay though... I tend to think these things should expel their brine by a pipeline running out into the gulf a bit.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #18
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Well, it's about darn time....
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:44 AM   #19
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Swiftmud says old sod can't be replaced

Swiftmud says old sod can't be replaced

By Marlene Sokol, Times Staff Writer
In print: Saturday, November 22, 2008

Homeowner, get used to that sickly looking lawn. Local water managers are saying not to resod until summer.

That means no sheets of green turf off a flatbed. It also means no plastic trays of plugs from the garden center.

"Anything that causes you to need more water is unacceptable,'' said Robyn Felix, a spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud.

The agency's order, issued more than three weeks ago, has created confusion for local government, an enforcement issue for homeowner associations, and panic among small businesses that install turf.

Blame drought conditions, which created a water shortage affecting Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties, but not Hernando. Rainfall is inadequate and expected to stay that way in the coming dry months. Water levels in October and November were at all-time lows along the Hillsborough River, said Tampa water chief Brad Baird.

"For us, it's critical that we have enough for essential uses,'' he said, estimating that up to half the city's water goes to irrigation. "This is serious, and we're running out of choices.''

Swiftmud asked cities and counties to enforce the restrictions.

Despite the clear need, and reams of material released by the region's water managers, government agencies have interpreted the antisod order in a variety of ways.

Some described it this week as a ban on resodding. Others said you can lay sod, but it can't be watered more than once a week — a death sentence for new turf during the dry season.

"We're recommending that folks not resod, but our understanding is that it's not mandatory," Pinellas County conservation director Todd Tanberg said Friday morning.

Later in the day, after a fax and a phone call from Swiftmud, he said: "We see now that there is a prohibition against turf grass renovation.''

And, he said, "We will enforce it.''

Officials suggest confusion exists because of the many lists of dos and dont's.

Sod can still be planted in communities that use reclaimed water, and at new homes and along new roads. New shrubs — but not new sod — can have extra water. There are new rules for hand-watering flowers and shorter hours to operate fountains.

"We're still finding micro-interpretations,'' said Michelle Van Dyke, a Hillsborough County Water spokeswoman. "It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.''

The sharpest complaints are coming from landscape and sod businesses, already suffering from the recession and housing slowdown.

"Don't buy sod? It's like saying, go to the store but you can't buy a blouse, or shirt, or whatever,'' said Frank Favata, co-owner of Jimmy's Sod in Tampa. He fears for his 10 employees, sod farmers and truckers. "We're not against water restrictions, but let's get reasonable,'' he said.

And it's little consolation that new homes can get lawns.

"Just let me know where they are,'' said Rafael Velazquez of RB Sod in Seffner, who was counting on a surge of business as homeowners spruce up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. "They made this decision at a really bad time."

Oscar Rodriguez, who owns O.B. Sod in Tampa, wrote to everyone from Mayor Pam Iorio to President-elect Barack Obama, predicting the demise of his 10-year-old business. "Should we inquire (about) a government bailout?'' he wrote.

Homeowner associations also are in a quandary as they seek to uphold deed restrictions without asking residents to break the law.

While some communities are switching to low-volume irrigation for their common areas and asking residents to do the same, officers acknowledge they can't turn a blind eye to a brown lawn.

"We'd just probably give the person special dispensation, and then tell them that when sodding is allowed, they have to get to it,'' said Dean Philson, president of the property owners association at Greenbriar in Sun City Center.

Pasco County water systems manager Marvin Kaden said his department is reaching out to homeowner associations to make them aware of the restrictions and fines of up to $500.

Swiftmud also has contacted 1,700 homeowner groups, Felix said, and asked them to publish the rules in their newsletters.

Still, officials predict brown lawn sufferers will feel squeezed.

"We often get complaints from homeowners who feel they are between a rock and a hard place, between deed restrictions and water restrictions,'' said Van Dyke, the Hillsborough County water spokeswoman. Many would rather risk a county fine than an association's wrath.

"Homeowner associations are required by law to maintain the deed restrictions,'' said Tanberg, who lives in deed-restricted Ridgemoor near Lake Tarpon. He suggested that, faced with noncompliance, his own association could re-sod a lawn — and bill the homeowner.

Swiftmud will intercede if anyone receives a citation for failing to resod, Felix said "We will have the homeowner give us a copy, and we will contact the homeowner association,'' she said.

But while Felix said the Swiftmud order supersedes any deed restriction, Tanberg said that may be something that will ultimately be resolved in court.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 269-5307 or sokol@sptimes.com.

Lack of water prompts sod restrictions

Why the sod ban?

New sod requires intensive watering, and water sources are low. Swiftmud describes the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers as "critically abnormal," the worst of four drought indicators. Rainfall is below normal and expected to stay that way through April.

Can anyone install sod?

New homes and roadsides can receive sod to prevent erosion. Reclaimed water users can resod, but those with wells cannot.

What if I sod my lawn anyway?

Swiftmud has asked local governments to increase enforcement and fines can cost hundreds of dollars.

Can my homeowner association come after me if my lawn dies?

Experts say that with proper care, fertilization and weekly watering, you can maintain your lawn. Resources include Florida Yards & Neighborhoods, a University of Florida extension service. Call (72... in Pinellas or (81... in Hillsborough. If you get in a jam with your homeowner association, Swiftmud (toll free, 1-800-423-1476) says it will intercede. But once the drought eases, your association will expect to see your lawn repaired.


[Last modified: Nov 22, 2008 10:38 PM]

http://www.tampabay.com/news/environ...icle913007.ece
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:52 AM   #20
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Swiftmud


Mob of angry residents











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