Tampa Electric Company (TECO) recently received the 2015 Edison Award, the electric power industry’s highest honor, for a cutting-edge reclaimed water project at its Polk County Power Station.
District leaders joined other community leaders in Tampa Tuesday to celebrate the honor given by the Edison Electric Institute. The District contributed $49 million to the nearly $100 million project that uses reclaimed water from Lakeland, Mulberry and Polk County pumped to the TECO power station in southwest Polk County for electric generation.
TECO forged regional partnerships with the District, Polk County, and the cities of Lakeland and Mulberry. Local utilities use reclaimed water for irrigation. However, there was surplus that was discharged into local waterways without being used. TECO partnered with these communities to obtain and use the reclaimed wastewater as coolant, resulting in significant environmental benefits.
“TECO demonstrated tremendous ingenuity by designing and building an innovative wastewater treatment system that protects the local environment while streamlining operations,” said Tom Kuhn, president of Edison Electric Institute. “The company also exhibited distinguished leadership by forging important regional partnerships to address the needs of all stakeholders.”
The District’s Executive Director Robert Beltran attended Tuesday’s celebration and said this project helps the area achieve groundwater benefits within the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA). SWUCA is a designated area where regional action is necessary to address cumulative water withdrawals which are causing or may cause adverse impacts to the water and related natural resources or the public interest.
“This is the perfect public, private partnership that just brings tremendous environmental benefits to the water resources of the area,” Beltran said. “By reusing this water again, you get another use out of the same drop of water over and over again.”
Click here to watch a video with more information about the project.