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Reclaimed water in short supply

St. Petersburg reclaimed watering is limited to evenings so that supply can try to keep pace with demand.

By PAUL SWIDER
Published May 5, 2006


 

St. Petersburg is applying restrictions on use of reclaimed water because its system is nearly dry in the face of unprecedented demand amid the region's long spring dry spell.

Thursday night, while the city was reconfiguring one of its four wastewater processing plants, demand outstripped supply and emptied storage tanks for a time, officials said. The plant is back online and the system is producing as always, but the event was the final trigger to initiate restrictions.

"It's the season," said Patti Anderson, the director of the city's water resources. "People want to keep their lawns alive."

Anderson said the more than 10,000 reclaimed water customers typically use the water during the day when there is very little wastewater coming in to be processed and sent out. Wastewater usually comes in at night, so the restrictions will shift supply and demand by restricting use of reclaimed water to overnight hours, as well as three days a week.

During the day, Anderson said, the city will pump reclaimed water into its 33 million gallons of storage instead of into pipelines so there will be plenty of pressure for overnight watering. Those who try to irrigate during the day will find little water available.

"If people help out, we'll be all right," she said. "If they don't follow the restrictions, we may not be able to keep up."

Anderson asks that people switch off timers or reset them to run according to restrictions to prevent air from leaking into the system and causing further pressure problems.

Anderson said other reclaimed water systems in Largo, Dunedin, Clearwater and Pinellas County are all experiencing high demand in these dry months.

A full set of the St. Petersburg's water restrictions is at http://cms.stpete.org/default.asp?page=1426

[Last modified May 5, 2006, 15:57:38]


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