Tampa Bay Desalination Plant Completes Performance Goal

The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Facility, the largest seawater desalination plant in the United States, has passed the final two performance milestone tests in February, according to Tampa Bay Water, American Water and Acciona Agua.

The tests required the plant to produce 25 million gallons of water per day (mgd) for 120 consecutive days and also average 20 mgd for 12 consecutive months. Both milestones were successfully completed in February.

“The completion of the last of a series of operational milestones at the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination facility is an achievement for all of the region’s water customers,” said Gerald Seeber, general manager of Tampa Bay Water. “The facility provides an important, drought-proof component to the region’s water supply system and is a true example of a successful public-private partnership.”

At 25 mgd, the plant provides about 10 percent of the Tampa Bay region’s drinking water supply and is operated by American Water and Acciona Agua through the joint venture American Water – Acciona Agua LLC.

Don Correll, president and chief executive officer of American Water, said: “This innovative plant … has produced more than 18 billion gallons of water for 2.5 million customers in the last two years.”

As a result of passing the test, Tampa Bay Water will receive $31.25 million dollars from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). The district had pledged funds to help build the plant, but had required the plant to achieve four performance benchmarks prior to releasing all the funds.

Seawater desalination is a sustainable, drought-proof, environmentally sound source of drinking water. Groundwater from aquifers and surface water from rivers is already part of Tampa Bay Water's regional system, but seawater desalination was selected to add another element of diversity and drought-resistance to the region's water supply network. Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, who in turn serve 2.5 million people in the Tampa Bay region.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 16 million people in 35 states and Ontario and Manitoba, Canada.

Based in Madrid, Spain, ACCIONA is one of Spain’s leading business corporations with more than 35,000 employees around the world. The company operates in infrastructure, energy, water and services in more than 30 countries. As part of this group ACCIONA Agua is one of the largest water treatment companies in the world, with over 75 desalination facilities in design, construction, or operation on 5 continents and water services to more than 2.5 million people, including the largest reverse osmosis facilities in Spain, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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