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Water-Related News

Tampa Council pushes off decision on what to do with wastewater

It’s pumped into Tampa Bay now. The state will outlaw the practice in the next decade.

Tampa won’t get an exemption to a state law that will prohibit the city from dumping 50 million gallons a day of highly treated reclaimed water into Tampa Bay in the future.

That fact was bemoaned by environmentalists Thursday, who had urged City Council members to lobby in support of changing the law.

They have opposed Mayor Jane Castor’s proposal to treat that wastewater further and pump it into the Hillsborough River, as well as a prior proposal dating to 2018 to inject it into the aquifer. On Thursday, her staff said the proposal no longer exists, leaving the matter in limbo after years of debate.

The city faces a 2032 state deadline to stop pumping reclaimed water into the bay. But a majority of City Council members have opposed any proposal to mix it — no matter how highly treated — with city drinking water sources, the solution advocated by Castor and predecessor Bob Buckhorn.