Hillsborough River discussed at Tampa City Council by Mitch E.Perry

06/15/06

Today a number of residents came before the Tampa City Council to speak out against a move that could allow Tampa Bay Water to seek a permit to put treated wastewater into the Hillsborough River below where the drinking water is extracted.

The discussion about the River comes as as a study is about to be released about what minimal flow level should be set for the River. The City likes it at 10 cubic feet per second, while Swiftmud – the Southwest Florida Water Management District – wants it increased to the more environmentally friendly 26 cubic feet per second.

Dave Moore is Executive Director for Swiftmud. He told the Council that the study – decided upon as a compromise after the Sierra Club and the group Friends of The River sued the City back in 2000, will be released soon (roll tape#1 o.q.�but for the region�)

Steve Dagnault is the Public Works and Utilities Administrator for the city of Tampa. When providing a power point presentation about the evolution of the Hillsborough River as a source of drinking water for Tampa Citizens, he said it was okay NOT to have a Mininum Flow Level.

But Dr. Rich Brown , a member of the group Friends of the River, took exception to that remark (roll tape#2 o.q.�to MFL’s�)

And Brown said that with all due respect to City staff, he’s not so certain that they really care so much about the health of the River (roll tape#3 o.q.�laughter�)

City Councilwoman Linda Saul Sena also told Daugnault she really didn’t appreciate his discussion of the River only as a source of drinking water (roll tape#4 o.q.�flows�)

Currently the City gets about 82 millions of gallon of water a day from the ariver above the Hillsborough River dam. But with growth comes the need for more water. That’s where the idea of using some reclaimed water comes into play. Mayor Iorio has discussed using treated wasterwater into the river.

But that was met with severe disapproval from several citizens, such as Janet Stanley, who calls the River the City’s greatest natural resource (roll tape#5 o.q.�.health of the river�)

Mike McCleary is with the group Clean Water Action. He said his group has been talking to city residents about minimum water flow and the idea of using reclaimed water in the River (roll tape#6 o.q.�really, really concerned about�)

Before speaking at the end of the City Council discussion, Councilmember John Dingfelder said he stood in unison with colleague Linda Saul Sena in being a strong environmentalist, but disagreed with her about the primary role the Council should play in relation to the Hillsborough River (roll tape# 7 o.q.�lose sight of that�)

At the end of the discussion, the Council voted to have Dingfelder, the Council’s representative on the Tampa Bay Water, represent the Council at Swiftmud’s release of the study on the minimum water flow of the River. That will take place on July 31st.

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