The city may increase its reclaimed water usage to reduce the amount of nitrogen going into Tampa Bay.
For customers this could mean an increase in the number of currently allowed watering days to three days per week (except in April and May). Right now customers can use reclaimed water twice each week.
Nitrogen is a major pollutant in Tampa Bay. Although "it is an essential plant nutrient, excess amounts of nitrogen fuel the growth of algae that clouds the water and robs it of oxygen. Water with an overdose of nitrogen is often a murky pea-green color," according to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
The city treats 12.2 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis. The city has a reclaimed water customer base of about 2,500 residential and 160 commercial accounts. Currently reclaimed water customers use an average of 6.2 million gallons per day.
The city has lost a couple of its larger reclaimed water users including a private golf course. The city plans to research in detail various options for using more reclaimed water.
Other ways to increase reclaimed water usage discussed:
- Add more reclaimed water connections
- Expand the city's reclaimed water system
- Supply excess reclaimed water to nearby towns
- Trade nitrogen load credits with other nitrogen discharge facilities