News Briefs: Indirect Reuse Project in Florida Facing Resistance

In this week's water and wastewater news, a $350 million indirect potable reuse project is drawing criticism from a city council member

A $350 million project proposal could see indirect reuse of wastewater in the City of Tampa, Florida, but a city council member and the public have questions they want answered first.

The city is seeking approval from Tampa Bay Water to pursue the project, but city council member Darden Rice is asking for a workshop to flesh out the details first. That workshop is now slated for Dec. 7. She claims the city isn’t sharing all the project details or talking about the risks she claims are associated with indirect potable reuse applications.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says Rice is wrong. “For somebody who is known as being an environmentalist, we’re all a little surprised at her unreasonableness on this,” Buckhorn tells Tampa Bay Times. “We’ve been at this since 2013. It’s been fleshed out. It’s going to allow the partners to have even more water, it will drought-proof the City of Tampa permanently and it’s the wave of the future.”

The project would see 50 mgd of highly treated wastewater pumped into an aquifer instead of into Tampa Bay, where it would be drawn and treated by a drinking water facility.

Massachusetts City Warns Public After Private Company Distributes Water Testing Vials

The city of Woburn, Massachusetts, recently issued a scam warning to its residents after a company started hanging fliers on doors that contained vials for water samples.

The vials were hung on doors by a company selling in-home water treatment systems, but some residents mistook the fliers and vials as coming from the city or Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.

The city offered residents public links to its own testing results, reminding them that water-quality information is readily available.

Scientists Find Pharmaceuticals in Lake Michigan Mussels

Scientists are collecting zebra and quagga mussels in Muskegon, Michigan, as part of a chemical pollution study called Mussel Watch.

The researchers say mussels are a good candidate to study water quality because they don’t move from place to place

“They’re very good at accumulating chemicals dissolved in the water and chemicals absorbed onto particulates they feed upon,” says Ed Johnson, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “They tend to be less effective at metabolizing many of these chemical contaminants, so they can accumulate to levels we can more easily measure them.”

While fewer chemicals are being found from decades ago, Johnson says the team is finding a surprising amount of pharmaceuticals and illegal substances like cocaine.


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