TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A highly controversial plan to add treated wastewater to Tampa’s drinking water supply was strongly shot down on Thursday by the city council.
The idea, may not be dead yet though.
At its meeting, council members heard from members of the Sierra Club and the group Friends of the Hillsborough River about why they objected to the plan.
The city calls the plan Pure, which is an acronym for “purify useable resources for the environment”.
Environmental groups say they’ve heard the idea before under other names.
“Pure is an old idea, something that Pam Iorio and Bob Buckhorn wanted to do. The people said no to them and today we say no to this mayor. Pure, we are now convinced is just toilet to tap. Old contaminated water in new bottles with a new label,” said Phil Compton with the group Friends of the Hillsborough River.
Compton says adding treated wastewater to the city drinking water supply would be dangerous.
“This wastewater would have some amounts every drug, every chemical anyone gets at Walgreens, hormones, anti-depressants, insulin, you name it. What happens when your grandchild drinks this water with all of this in it her entire life,” said Compton.
The city says there are currently no plans to add treated wastewater to the drinking water supply and it’s just one option being investigated by the “Pure” study.
Thursday members of the city council voted down a proposal to give an additional $1.2 million to that study.
“Overwhelmingly what we’ve heard from the public today is that they don’t want this and they want it to end,” said City Council member Lynn Hurtak.
The city says that a new state law requires that the city come up with a comprehensive plan to better use treated wastewater and that’s what the “pure” study was designed to do.
Hurtak says she wants to know how to meet the obligations of the state law without some of the ideas proposed by “pure.”
“What happens if we stick with the status quo and that’s what the public has been asking and that’s what I don’t understand, what’s the need for this,” said Hurak.