Water-Related News

Tampa residents suspicious of pumping plan

By José Patiño Girona

TAMPA – A plan to pump up to 2 million gallons a day of water from a sinkhole in north Tampa is being met with opposition from neighbors who worry it will harm their water supply and increase the risk of sinkholes.

Water utility officials, though, say the nearly $11 million project is being done as a benefit to the Hillsborough River.

It’s meant to provide a “fresh water zone downstream of the dam to improve the health of the river,” said Brad Baird, director of the city of Tampa’s water department.

Since the 1970s there’s been “days of no flow of fresh water over and through the dam,” Baird said.

Baird and representatives from the Southwest Florida Water Management District tried to reassure an audience of more than 200 residents and property owners Tuesday night that any impacts from the plan to build a pumping station would be minimal. The water management district would pay for half the project, which would pump water to the base of the Hillsborough River dam.