August 31, 2015

Desalination

Desal Plant Takes Next Step

Art Levy | 6/1/2008

Desal Plant
Tampa Bay Water’s desal plant in Apollo Beach. [Photo: Mark Wemple]
When Gerald Seeber took over as general manager of Tampa Bay Water, the agency’s much-criticized, long-delayed Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant had just become fully operational, producing 25 million gallons of desalinated water each day. His timing was perfect. “As the new guy coming in, it’s a relief to know that the difficult problem-solving is behind us,” he says. “It’s one less issue for me and the other managers to deal with.”

Since replacing retired general manager Jerry Maxwell in March, Seeber has concentrated on upgrading and expanding the agency’s surface water system and water treatment plant. Seeber, a former New Port Richey city manager, also is working on a long-term plan to ensure the region’s water supply beyond 2016.

Jerry Seeber
Seeber

“One of the projects that we’re looking at is an expansion of the desal plant by adding 10 million gallons of capacity right there on that site,” Seeber says. “It’s part of our long-term future to look at additional desal water.”

For now, Chuck Carden, the plant’s director of operations, is focused on keeping the $160-million facility running as designed. Output, he says, may be adjusted after July, based on demand.

Now that the plant is working, it’s attracting flocks of curious visitors, including water agency managers from around the world. Carden says even members of Save Our Bays, Air and Canals — a citizens group that fought against locating the plant where it is — have toured the facility. Dominick Gebbia, a former leader of the group, says the plant looked “fine” but needs watching. He notes it has been cited three times this year and last for flushing too much of the fluid used to clean its filters into Hillsborough County sewer lines.

“Basically, there is no place else in the world where there’s a desal plant on an estuary,” Gebbia says. “We still really don’t know what effect it’s going to have.”

Tags: Southwest, Energy & Utilities, Environment

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Volunteer puppy raisers socialize future guide dogs
Volunteer puppy raisers socialize future guide dogs

Southeastern Guide Dogs’ volunteer puppy raisers help future guide dogs to become comfortable with home life and take the puppies everywhere—to work, out to eat, on trips, and even grocery shopping.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Is your business ready for a tropical storm or hurricane?

  • Yes, we are ready.
  • Somewhat (never enough!)
  • No, if a storm hits, we would be in trouble.

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe