Tampa Electric and its partners, Southwest Florida Water Management District and the city of Lakeland, have begun full operation of an innovative reclaimed water system to cool the Polk Power Station – and to benefit the environment.
After five years of construction, the $120 million Polk Power Station Regional Reclaimed Water Partnership Initiative officially entered into service last month. The project will allow Tampa Electric to collect reclaimed water from the city of Lakeland, treat it and use it for cooling water at the Polk Power Station.
“This public-private partnership is on the leading edge of innovative water use,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “It has far-reaching water-resource benefits that will be seen in Tampa Bay for multiple generations.”
The project includes a reclaimed water pumping station and 15-mile pipeline between the city of Lakeland’s wetland treatment system, east of Mulberry, and Tampa Electric’s Polk Power Station. The project also includes a water-treatment system and two deep-injection wells – more than 1.5 miles underground – on Polk Power Station property.
This project will:
• Minimize any future withdrawals of groundwater to cool Polk Power Station.
• Clean up Tampa Bay by diverting treated wastewater previously discharged by the city of Lakeland. This will remove nitrogen from the water of Hillsborough and Tampa bays, which will help improve the sea grasses and populations of small fish, crabs and oysters.
• Give the city of Lakeland greater capacity to use additional groundwater for drinking as the city grows.
And there’s more to come – a future phase of the project will include reclaimed water from Polk County and the city of Mulberry. That phase is scheduled to be complete in 2017.