Why have environmentalists and community leaders turned against Tampa’s plan to recycle treated wastewater?

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Hillsborough River (cropped)
The Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. By Seán Kinane. Sept. 2009.

In February, Tampa City Council voted 6-1 to explore options for reusing treated wastewater. Several council members had questions about what the city calls PURE, but they agreed to spend more than $1 million to find out more.

PURE (Purify Natural Resources for the Environment)

The city now sends about 50 million gallons a day of highly treated wastewater into Tampa Bay. The PURE plan calls for that to be reused instead. Either by pumping it into the aquifer then into a drinking water reservoir on the Hillsborough River or by injecting some into a deep reservoir and the rest into the river.

In the Spring, several environmentalists and other community leaders were in favor of working with the city to find out options for reusing the wastewater.

Environmentalists now oppose PURE

But in a press conference Monday, several stakeholders said they now oppose Mayor Jane Castor’s plans for PURE.

Three of them spoke about it on WMNF’s Tuesday Café on 13 September 2022: Gary Gibbons, Vice Chair of Tampa Bay Sierra Club, Caryle Camissa, with the Hillsborough League of Women Voters and Phil Compton, a founding member of Friends of the Hillsborough River.

Listen to the show:

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Here’s what the City of Tampa says about PURE:

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

WMNF’s Tuesday Café airs weekly beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

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