Tampa Bay Desal Granted Discharge Permit
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Tampa Bay Desal

Largest desalination plant in U.S.; owned and financed by private company

Hearing officer Lawrence Johnston affirmed the validity of a discharge permit for Tampa Bay Desal. The permit was prepared by the Department of Environmental Protection and challenged by a local activist group, SOBAC.

In his 108-page decision, the judge found that the permit should be issued as drafted and that experts provided by SOBAC were "not credible."

The Department of Environmental Protection had maintained that the permit as drafted met environmental standards far more stringent than state law. Tampa Bay Desal agreed to the tougher standards because of their confidence in the project's design and operation and to prevent further delay.

Details include
* Plant will cost approximately $110 million.
* First of its kind--financed and owned by a private company.
* It will generate 25 million gallons of high quality water per day.
* Largest seawater desal plant in the United States, though larger plants are in development in California and Texas.
* Most affordable desal water in the world.

Supporting the Department of Environmental Protection and Tampa Bay Desal were Tampa Bay Water, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa, and Pasco County. SOBAC was alone in its challenge.

We're pleased with the outcome, which underscored that this is an environmentally friendly water source," said Tim Defoe, Tampa Bay Desal project manager. "This should allow us to stay on schedule to deliver high quality water at a reasonable price to the people in Tampa Bay."

The plant is scheduled to deliver water in December 2002.

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