Tampa Convention Center Skyline

Tampa's Wastewater System Undergoes Largest Investment in its History

In its latest effort to update the vital infrastructure that keeps Tampa healthy and safe, the Department of Wastewater is proud to announce the completion of a new facility at the City’s treatment plant that will save money and improve efficiency.
 
The three-story,15,028 square foot new state-of-the-art Sludge Dewatering Building features the latest technology that performs the final treatment of biosolids, known as "sludge." With sustainability at the core of all citywide operations, biosolids are treated and sent to EPA-approved sites where they are used for highly regulated agricultural purposes instead of being buried in landfills.
 
Sludge transport is based on weight, and by nature, sludge is heavy due to its high water content. The technology within the new Sludge Dewatering Building is now able to remove more water and therefore lower transportation costs significantly. For example, it is projected the new facility will save $500,00 annually in operational cost savings.
 
This $31.5 million project is just one of many made possible by Tampa's $2.9 billion PIPES (Progressive Infrastructure Plan to Ensure Sustainability) Program, launched in 2019 by the Castor administration, with the support of the Tampa City Council. PIPES establishes a schedule of gradual rate increases for water and wastewater services over a 20-year period, providing an additional funding source for these large-scale improvements. This comes after nearly 10 years without a utility rate increase in the City of Tampa.
 
"PIPES is a once-in-a-generation program that will transform our 100-year-old water and wastewater infrastructure so it can continue to service more than 700,000 people, and counting," said Mayor Jane Castor. "Since 2019 we have made great progress, but the journey is just beginning. These infrastructure investments are critical for the health of our communities and environment."
 
Other PIPES projects under construction at the treatment facility include the rehabilitation of the Main Pumping Station (MPS) and High Purity Oxygen Reactors, with an estimated project cost of $92 million, and the rehabilitation of Digester No. 7, with an estimated project cost of $21.3 million. A key component of the MPS project includes removing the existing electrical control panels from the basement level and installing them 15 feet above ground.
 
“Not only will these projects modernize our technology, they will also reduce the risks brought by storms,” said Wastewater Director Eric Weiss. “The plant is 10 feet above sea level and surrounded by water on three sides. Raising the electrical components will reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events and sea level rise.”
 
Since the inception of the PIPES program, the Wastewater Department has invested more than $461 million toward the upgrading of its infrastructure.

Read more about the PIPES Program.