The Tampa desalination plant, located in the state of Florida (USA), celebrates its 25th anniversary since its construction. The plant was built in 1998 and was later redesigned and refurbished by ACCIONA and American Water.
The plant, with a capacity of 108,000 m3/day, supplies at least 10% of the water consumption of the Tampa Bay region and was the biggest in the country at the time of its construction. ACCIONA has operated the plant from the outset in partnership with US WATER Services Corporation, which took over from American Water in September this year.
The Tampa Bay region previously relied on natural resources to cover its potable water needs. However, population growth and declining rainfall in the 1990s led to the need to create new drinking water supplies that could alleviate environmental stress and meet the needs of the expanding region.
The original desalination plant project dates back to 1998, but the original filtration systems proved inefficient and the filters showed defects on a regular basis. Tampa Bay Water decommissioned the plant in June 2004 and contracted ACCIONA and American Water to develop a new solution.
ACCIONA and its partner spent three years rebuilding the desalination plant to make it fully automatic, improving the previous designs and correcting and optimising processes and systems.
The original contract included the operation of the plant for 18 years, although it has recently been extended for a further five years, until 2029.
The plant currently employs 22 workers seven days a week in different shifts.
Tampa Bay Water’s General Manager Daniel A. Siljeström attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the plant on 22 September, among others, and he highlighted “at the tour of the desalination plant, it was widely discussed the alternatives for converting the seawater desalination plant into a brackish water desalination plant from wells, what can make desal cheaper. It’s only 3% of TBW water source now but desalting from water brackish wells can increase it and reduce the cost of desalination source. At ACCIONA, we are looking for alternative water sources for the future as part of our commitment for TAMPA BAY WATER”.
Since the plant entered service it has processed 42 billion gallons of water and supplied 159 million m3 of potable water to the Tampa Bay region, ensuring safe drinking water during dry periods of the year when river water availability is lower.
In 2008, the Tampa desalination plant won the “Best Desalination Plant of the Year” award from Global Water Intelligence magazine.