The City of Tampa is investigating a new water supply project, the Tampa Augmentation Project (TAP), to beneficially reuse highly treated reclaimed water from the City’s Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The ultimate objective of TAP is to create additional water supply for potable use within the Tampa Bay region. The reclaimed water will re-enter the environment through use of new rapid infiltration basins and restore and further expand existing wetlands to improve groundwater and surface water levels which in turn will increase the recharge to the Tampa Bypass Canal creating additional surface water supply for potable purposes.
The River Board’s Technical Advisory Council heard presentations from staff of the City of Tampa and SWFWMD on TAP and the safety of reclaimed water. Reclaimed water can contain pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other contaminants. It is not yet clear to what extent these contaminants would be removed under the proposed project. As the use of pharmaceuticals has been on the rise in the United States with new pharmaceuticals entering the market each year, the long term ingestion of trace amounts of pharmaceuticals on human health has not been sufficiently studied. To be more specific, which pharmaceuticals and at what levels is not currently tested in potable or reclaimed water on a regular basis. The River Board’s TAC expressed hope that the City of Tampa’s TAP feasibility study will address these concerns.