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Tampa officials say they lobbied for a state law to justify diverting wastewater

Opponents say the wastewater can't be fully treated for pharmaceuticals and alternative uses should be explored.

Tampa city officials admit they lobbied the state to pass a law that would require them to divert wastewater that now pours into Tampa Bay.

Some environmentalists are upset, saying this was a way to promote the city's plans to spend billions to reuse the water.

City officials helped write a new state law that requires the city to stop dumping 50 million gallons a day into the bay within 10 years.

The report by the Tampa Bay Times comes just a week after staffers said the city won’t get an exemption to the state law.

Many environmentalists have opposed Mayor Jane Castor's plans to divert treated wastewater to either the underground aquifer or to the Hillsborough River, where the city gets its drinking water. That's a plan the city has been pushing for years under different names, said Nancy Stevens of the Tampa Bay Sierra Club.