Florida continues to be a national pioneer in water reclamation, and Carollo Engineers is helping with the latest large-scale reuse project in the state. The City of Tampa's, Tampa Augmentation Project (TAP), will evaluate the cost and feasibility of increasing use of reclaimed water from the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (HFCAWTP) to augment the region's potable water supplies.

In addition to Carollo's overall project management responsibility, the company will also be responsible for regulatory coordination, hydrogeologic and environmental investigations, alternatives analyses, and a public outreach and communication plan.

"Finding new water supply sources is key to our region's growth," said Braid Baird, Tampa's Public Works and Utilities Administrator. "The Curren Plant is a big part of the success we've had using reclaimed water to offset drinking water demands, but now it's time to take the next step toward true potable reuse."

Simply put, Carollo will collaborate with the agency, regulators, and other stakeholders to evaluate two main alternatives for delivering reclaimed water to the existing potable water supply system. The first alternative involves creating a wetlands treatment system and infiltration basins on Southwest Florida Water Management District property. This alternative will use natural systems to treat the reclaimed water before delivering it to the Tampa Bypass Canal – a 14-mile waterway that provides flood protection to the region and water to the City of Tampa.

The second alternative will look at using the Florida Aquifer System to store water that can be retrieved later and delivered to the Hillsborough River Reservoir, which has served as the City of Tampa’s primary source of drinking water since the mid-1920s.

Before either of these alternatives becomes reality, Tampa will construct a small wetlands at the HFCAWTP site to demonstrate the treatment capabilities of these natural treatment systems to municipal stakeholders, regulators, and even the general public.

"Public outreach is the key to implementing a potable reuse project of any kind," asserts Carollo's Project Manager, David Ammerman. "The technical aspects of this project are fascinating and potentially historic in the region, but the public also cares about how a project of this type will disrupt their neighborhoods, schools, parks, riding trails, and golf courses. We understand that keeping the public informed and soliciting their input will be key to acceptance and ultimately, project success. Our outreach teaming partners, Katz & Associates and Vistra Communications, are developing a public communication plan that will be designed to keep the public informed and involved as the project becomes better defined.

The project will unfold over the next 20 months, culminating in a comprehensive analysis of technical, cost, regulatory, and public impact considerations for the two alternatives. From there, Tampa will review the findings and determine the best course of action to ensure Tampa enjoys a reliable, sustainable potable water supply for decades to come.