'It's not poop water,' but St. Petersburg official skeptical of wastewater to drinking water plan

Nov 28, 2018


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A proposal to turn treated wastewater in drinking water for the city of Tampa is getting some pushback.

The "toilet-to-tap" plan, as it's known, would pump treated wastewater into the aquifer in an effort to generate millions of more gallons of drinking water every day. Here’s basically how the current proposal would work: The city of Tampa already treats 50 million gallons of wastewater every day and releases it all into Tampa Bay.

This plan would, instead, pump all that water deep into the aquifer underground and, at the same time, pump the same amount of water out of the aquifer at a different location at a shallower depth. That water would then go through the same treatment all the rest of Tampa’s drinking water goes through and would be available to the entire city.

“Re-use for drinking water is getting more and more popular. Within the state, I can think of at least five [local governments] off-hand that are doing projects either direct or indirect potable reuse," Tampa Water Director Chuck Weber said. "Throughout the nation, there are probably one hundred or more. The water is very clean.

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