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Tampa Bay Water temporarily changes treatment method due to liquid oxygen shortage

The change will affect south Hillsborough County; residents should see no change in drinking water quality

CLEARWATER – Beginning Thurs., Aug. 26, 2021, Tampa Bay Water is temporarily changing the water treatment at its Lithia Hydrogen Sulfide Removal Facility due to a lack of liquid oxygen deliveries to the facility. Water from this facility will continue to meet all local, state and federal regulations for drinking water. Consumers who are sensitive to taste and odor changes in drinking water might notice a slight change during this period, however this treatment change will not alter the quality of the drinking water.

Liquid oxygen helps remove hydrogen sulfide from the water coming out of this facility and serving the South Hillsborough County service area. Tampa Bay Water is changing the treatment to sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach. The lack of deliveries of liquid oxygen is due to a driver shortage caused by the COVID pandemic and the need for available supplies to be diverted to local hospitals. The agency continues to work with its vendors to restore regular deliveries.

In addition, the agency is adjusting the regional blend of water sources to accommodate the change in available deliveries of liquid oxygen. The regional water supply is a blend of three sources of water – groundwater, river water and desalinated seawater. Depending on environmental, weather and other factors, the blend of water shifts throughout the year as part of normal utility operations. While the chemistry of sources is different, the result is the same – high quality drinking water that meets or is better than all local, state and federal standards.

Residents can help preserve the region's drinking water by eliminating non-essential water uses such as: watering lawns when it's raining, using pressure washers, and washing vehicles at home. For more water-saving tips, please visit