Tampa Bay Water may sue for funds to fix desal plant
CLEARWATER - The board of Tampa Bay Water voted Monday to sue the companies that posted and now hold a $24-million surety bond guaranteeing the performance of the utility's troubled desalination plant.
By Times Staff Writer
Published May 18, 2004
The Apollo Beach plant was supposed to be finished by Jan. 31, 2003. But its builder, Covanta, went bankrupt. While the plant can produce drinking water, its filter system does not appear to be working properly, which could drive up the cost of its operation.
To get the plant built, the company that made the membranes for the filter system, Hydranautics, posted a $24-million surety bond through Zurich American and Fidelity of Maryland. When the plant ran into trouble, Tampa Bay Water asked Hydranautics to take over fixing the plant. Instead Hydranautics filed a federal lawsuit that said it has no responsibility for anything but the membranes.
Although that lawsuit is currently on hold, Tampa Bay Water's board voted unanimously to sue both Hydranautics and the companies holding the surety bond should they fail to take any steps to fix the plant by the end of May or fail to hand over the bond.