Tampa’s demand for water averages about 80 million gallons a day. Most of the demand, pumped from the Hillsborough River reservoir, is treated with a six-step process prior to being stored in large underground tanks called clearwells.
Rapid Mix: A coagulant, ferric sulfate, and sulfuric acid area added to the water. They react with organic matter to form substances floc. Polymers then are added to the water, which is circulated to allow the floc particles to form larger, heavier floc.
Sedimentation: After flocculation the water flows into rectangular settling basins where the floc settles to the bottom. Clear, settled water is collected continues to the next process step.
Stabilization and Disinfection: Clear, settled water is treated with ozone to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses and inactivate microbial pathogens. Lime stabilizes the pH and fluoride is added for dental health benefits.
The disinfected water is filtered through mixed bed filters containing sand and activated carbon coal to remove any remaining particles.
Thickeners: Backwash water removes filtered materials to a thickener tank for reclamation. Solids collected in the thickener are removed for dewatering and disposal.
After filtration, chlorine and ammonia are added to the treated water to produce monochloramine for disinfection during storage. Sodium hydroxide is added to balance the pH, then pumps send the finished water for storage.
Finished water is stored in large cement underground tanks called clearwells. High service process pumps send the finished water from storage to Tampa’s water distribution system to meet the demand for drinking water.
Use this diagram to follow the path of our drinking water from start to finish.