Reclaimed Water FAQ
Answering Your Questions About Tampa's Reclaimed Water
Using reclaimed water for irrigation and other non-potable uses helps maximize Tampa's drinking water supply. Tampa's primary drinking water source is the Hillsborough River reservoir. During the annual dry season, typically March through June, rainfall decreases and irrigation demand increases cause the reservoir water level to drop. Irrigating with reclaimed water helps to ensure an adequate water supply for Tampa.
Why reclaimed water? Reclaimed water may be used for irrigation without restriction. Using reclaimed conserves Tampa's drinking water supply. Less fertilizer may be required when irrigating with reclaimed water. And, reclaimed water is less expensive than drinking water.
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How can I get reclaimed water service?
Reclaimed water is available to customers who live within the boundaries of the existing reclaimed water service area. If you are in the service area and have not enrolled in the program, you can sign up by calling (813) 274-8811, option #3, or by completing the application and mailing it to the address indicated on the form.
Why is reclaimed water being offered in some neighborhoods and not others?
Reclaimed water service areas were selected based on their concentration of heavy irrigation and their proximity to the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. These factors were important in ensuring the economic feasibility of the project.
Can I buy reclaimed water in bulk from the City if I am not in the service area?
Yes. Business and individuals can purchase bulk quantities of reclaimed water directly from the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Port of Tampa by contacting the Wastewater Department.
I think I already signed up, how can I be sure?
You can check to see if your property is signed up for reclaimed water by calling City of Tampa Utilities at (813) 274-8811, option #3.
Why is participating voluntary?
Not all people have the same need for reclaimed water. The City did not want people without irrigation needs to be required to participate.
How much does it cost to enroll in reclaimed water?
To receive residential service, a standard 3/4-inch reclaimed water meter and backflow prevention device must be installed on your property. Installation of a 3/4-inch meter costs $375, plus a $15 application fee. Customers will also be responsible for all associated permit costs. Businesses and other non-residential locations that require other than a residential-size meter should call the Water Engineering Planning Section at (813) 274-8121, option #6, for a cost estimate.
How will I be billed for reclaimed water?
Reclaimed water is metered and billed as a separate line item on your City utility bill at a rate of $1.20 per hundred cubic feet (CCF). One CCF is equal to 748 gallons.
How do I connect to Tampa's reclaimed water system?
Before connecting your irrigation system to Tampa's reclaimed water, you must first detach and permanently uncouple all connection points between your irrigation system and the potable (drinking) water system. Once this is complete, you may then connect your irrigation system to the reclaimed water meter. You have the choice of doing the work yourself or hiring a licensed irrigation or plumbing contractor. A permit must be obtained by the person who will complete the connection before any work is performed. The City will inspect the work upon completion to ensure the connections to the potable (drinking) water and reclaimed water meters comply with all applicable state and local building codes, as well as FDEP rules. The connection work must pass inspection before the system can be used. Permittees have one year from the date the permit is issued to complete the work and pass inspection. Permittees not meeting that timeline will be required to pull a new permit.
May I connect a hose to my reclaimed water?
Yes. You may purchase a reclaimed water hose bibb and choose to either install it yourself or have it installed by a licensed irrigation or plumbing contractor. The reclaimed water hose bibb must comply with Florida Building Code/Plumbing, as well as with all City of Tampa and FDEP rules.
Must I disconnect my irrigation system from my well?
Yes. Connections between the reclaimed water system and any other public or private system are not allowed. Additionally, if you are using your well for drinking purposes, you may no longer do so unless the well is located at least 75 feet from the area irrigated with reclaimed water.
Will the water impact my landscaping?
Landscapes irrigated with reclaimed water should be monitored to determine what, if any, modifications to fertilizer and irrigation practices may be needed. Learn more about Managing a Healthy Landscape Using Reclaimed Water.
What aesthetic impact will it have on my property and neighborhood?
The aesthetic impact of the system is positive. Reclaimed water provides the ability to keep lawns and landscape plants green and healthy even during periods when water restrictions are tightened.
Is the water safe?
Yes. Reclaimed water is treated, continually monitored and thoroughly tested to ensure that it meets the stringent requirements of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Unlike most reclaimed water that is treated only twice, the reclaimed water produced at Tampa's Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant goes through three major treatment processes before being delivered to the customer. Detailed information regarding the quality of Tampa's reclaimed water is available.
Are the reclaimed and potable water systems isolated?
Yes. Reclaimed water is delivered to homes and businesses through an underground distribution system entirely separate from the drinking water system. The reclaimed water system is not connected in any way to the drinking water system. The City of Tampa's reclaimed water pipe and fixtures, as well as the reclaimed meter box at your property, are purple to distinguish them from the drinking water system.
What may reclaimed water be used for?
- Irrigating your lawn and landscape.
- Filling decorative ponds and fountains.
- Irrigating fruit trees and gardens containing edible foods that will be peeled or cooked before serving.
- Supplying a commercial water-cooled air conditioning system.
- Indirectly irrigating fruit trees and gardens containing edible foods that will not be peeled or cooked (reclaimed water should not come in direct contact with the edible part of a plant).
What may reclaimed water NOT be use for?
- Filling swimming pools or hot tubs.
- Connecting to a dwelling for toilet flushing or other household use.
- Interconnecting with your drinking water pipeline.
- Water play or recreation involving water contact.
Why does the City need a reclaimed water program?
Tampa's highest water use is during its annual dry season from March through June. During this time, the water levels can become very low in the Hillsborough River Reservoir and other water sources while irrigation demands are the highest. While the City's multi-faceted Water Efficiency and Conservation Program has been in existence for nearly 20 years, using valuable reclaimed water for irrigation as an alternative to potable (drinking) water is the next logical step in maximizing Tampa's drinking water supply. The use of reclaimed water in place of drinking water for irrigation purposes reduces the stress on freshwater resources and helps save our natural systems.
When can I use my reclaimed water?
Reclaimed water may be used any day or days of the week. However, to provide the best service, we need everyone's help to spread out usage. Suggested watering days for addresses ending in an odd number (or the letter N through Z) are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Suggested watering days for addresses ending in an even number (or the letter A through M) are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.