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A $755,000 grant from Swiftmud will be used toward three projects in the city.
By JULIE CHURCH
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001
OLDSMAR -- Another 428 Oldsmar residents soon will be eligible for reclaimed water in their neighborhoods, thanks to a $755,000 grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Three separate projects to provide reclaimed water in the city will be jointly funded by Swiftmud's Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and the city of Oldsmar.
The goal of the projects is to replace potable water with reclaimed water for irrigation and to reduce the amount of effluent discharged into Tampa Bay by the Oldsmar wastewater treatment plant. City officials expect the projects to be complete by the end of 2002.
"Our No. 1 priority is to reduce the discharge into Tampa Bay," said John Mulvihill, Oldsmar's director of public works. "Our second priority is to reduce the demand for potable water, and third is to provide a means for residential irrigation."
A reclaimed water line will be constructed along Forest Lakes Boulevard to provide water for an additional 180 residential customers in the Woods of Forest Lakes. It also will improve the flow of reclaimed water to Bay Arbors, which already has the service.
Residents of Arlington Avenue, Dartmouth Avenue West and Shore Drive Place will get reclaimed water once a line is constructed to that area. The new line will provide reclaimed water to 115 customers.
The third project funded by the grant will supply reclaimed water to 133 residents of Gull Aire Village Phase II. It also will serve Canal Park.
Once the water lines are extended into the neighborhoods, residents will be offered the opportunity to connect to the lines and begin using reclaimed water. There will be a $225 connect fee and applications will be available in the Community Development office, Mulvihill said.
He is most excited about irrigating Canal Park with reclaimed water, because the park currently is relying on well water to irrigate the ball fields.
"This represents a dollar-for-dollar savings," Mulvihill said. "Every gallon of reclaimed water used saves one gallon of well water."
Residential reclaimed water users generally don't see the same savings when they switch to reclaimed water because there is a tendency for homeowners to use more reclaimed water than they would city or well water, Mulvihill said.
Swiftmud's governing board last month approved a funding agreement requiring the city to complete the projects by Sept. 30, 2003.
But Mulvihill doesn't expect the work to take that long. He estimates that construction will begin in January 2002 and that the projects will be complete by the end of 2002.
Once complete, the reclaimed water usage should offset the demand for ground and surface water by 220-million gallons per year.
Residents in the areas scheduled to receive reclaimed water have been trying to get the service in their neighborhoods for quite some time, said Gary Zarb, who lives in the Woods at Forest Lakes.
"It just makes sense," he said. "I'm concerned about the amount of building and growth in this area and of course the water shortages. You hear about them on the news every day.
"My family would be quite receptive to the idea of reclaimed water."
- Staff writer Julie Church can be reached at (727) 445-4229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.