U.S. Water News Online
TAMPA, Fla. -- Officials from Singapore to California are
closely watching construction of a desalination plant in Tampa Bay,
which will be the country's first functioning plant turning salt
water into fresh water.
The prime minister of Singapore visited with a delegation to study
the plant. Communities from Texas, California, and Florida's east
coast have also shown interest, officials said.
``The plant in Tampa Bay has certainly spurred renewed interest,
especially among policy-makers, to look at seawater desalination,''
said Bob Yamada, senior engineer for the San Diego County Water
The Tampa Bay plant is expected to produce 1,000 gallons of water
for about $2, far below the industry standard.
``It's drawing attention from all quarters of the industry,'' said
Richard Allen, editor of Water Desalination Reports, an
industry newsletter. ``It's a new low-cost level. People are watching
something like this.''
Scheduled for operation early in Jan. 2002, the new plant expected
to produce 25 million gallons of water a day.
The plant has raised fears among environmental groups. They say
they want strict monitoring of brine discharge from the plant into
Tampa Bay with a shutdown clause if the discharge exceeds permitted
Worldwide, 13,600 desalination plants produce 6.8 billion gallons
of water daily. The two plants in the United States -- one in Santa
Barbara and another in Key West -- sit idle and are used only for
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