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Reclaimed water limits sought

The restrictions are needed to avoid debilitating drops in water pressure, said a Public Works administrator.

By BRYAN GILMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- It took three tries for the City Council to pass a temporary restriction on the use of reclaimed water last year, even as the system pressure often dropped so low that only a trickle came out of lawn sprinkler heads.

Now Public Works Administrator George Webb is asking the council to permanently restrict the use of the highly treated wastewater, which customers have been able to use without limits for a flat $10.36 monthly fee. The Council will discuss Webb's plan Feb. 15.

Webb says the plan can prevent debilitating pressure drops as St. Petersburg re-enters the season when users last brought the system to its knees.

"What we're trying to do is simply get prepared so that reclaimed water can be spread around and we can avoid any kind of crisis like we had last spring," Webb said.

Reclaimed water customers with even addresses would be able to water only Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, while odd-numbered ones would be restricted to Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Webb said a 1999 study of the reclaimed water system recommended such a permanent system.

Like last year, some City Council members oppose the idea.

"It's a fairness issue," said council member Kathleen Ford. "Those folks are helping us out. It's better for the environment if they use the reclaimed water. And they paid for it. When you make a deal with people, you've got to keep your part of the bargain."

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