Tampa Bay Water Aims To Fix Cracked Reservoir

Cracks in a reservoir that provides water to three counties in the Tampa Bay region may be on the verge of getting fixed.

Tampa Bay Water supplies water to residents living in Tampa in Hillsborough County, New Port Richey in Pasco County and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. Cracks have appeared in the reservoir since shortly after it opened.

"Beginning in December 2006, cracks began to form in the reservoir's erosion-control layer," says Tampa Bay Water spokesperson Michelle Biddle Rapp. "Analyses show that the cracking is caused by the buildup of water pressure in the soil wedge beneath the soil-cement as the reservoir water level is drawn down during typical use. This problem was caused by improper design.''

Rapp says the challenge in fixing the cracks lies in protecting the water supply and its cycles. "The region's water supply is built to rely on the storage from a working 15.5 billion gallon reservoir," she explains. "The cracks appear in nearly 40 percent of its interior liner, so the entire liner needs to be replaced. The reservoir is currently in use, but the cracking requires a long-term fix to ensure that the regional reservoir can continue to be used without interrupting the fill and drain cycles and supply water to the $200 million expanded surface water treatment plant and pump station."

According to Rapp, Tampa Bay Water is in the process of  finding a permanent solution.

"Three teams have submitted proposals for a fix that are currently being evaluated by a team of experts,'' Rapp says. Tampa Bay Water's board of directors is scheduled to hear presentations from each of the teams at its meeting on May 16, 2011, and select the fix on June 20, 2011. Construction is scheduled to start in 2012 and last two years.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Michelle Biddle Rapp, Tampa Bay Water

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