Repairs at the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir are going according to plan, and refilling of the storage facility is scheduled to begin this summer.
CLEARWATER – An important part of Tampa Bay Water’s system - the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir - has been offline for repairs the past couple of years.
The reservoir began operating in 2005. In December 2006, cracks began to form in the facility’s soil-cement erosion control lining. Over time, the abnormal cracks appeared in several areas, eventually forming on 70 percent of the interior face of the reservoir.
It’s been years, since the reservoir could be filled to capacity.
Finally, a repair project, which began in February 2013, is nearing completion, and Tampa Bay Water expects to begin refilling the reservoir this summer. When fully operational, the reservoir can hold 15.5 billion gallons of water. Officials estimate that the Reservoir Renovation Project will be finished by December.
Kiewit Infrastructure South, the contractor renovating the storage facility, put in a bid of $162.4 million in 2011 to make repairs and to increase capacity at the reservoir by another 3 billion gallons. Later, it turned out that increasing capacity was not feasible, reducing the cost of the project to about $129 million.
Construction plans called for work to occur from the bottom of the reservoir up, so filling could begin while construction continues near the top of the berm, according to a news release. The entire job was scheduled to take advantage of the rainy season.
“Successfully achieving the initial fill date has been a goal of Tampa Bay Water and the project team since the renovation began, so that Tampa Bay Water can bank water in its savings account this summer,” officials said.
Water stored in the reservoir comes from the Tampa Bypass Canal and the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers. A portion of the surface water goes to the Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant for treatment and distribution; surplus water is conveyed to the reservoir for storage and use during dry times.
Tampa Bay Water filed a federal lawsuit in December 2008 against HDR, as well as the contractor Barnard Construction and the construction manager CDG, after the cracks were discovered. Tampa Bay Water’s board rejected a $30 million settlement offer from HDR after the board’s advisers estimated the agency could get as much as $97 if they won the lawsuit.
A federal jury ruled against Tampa Bay Water April 10, saying that HDR “did not breach its standard of care” when designing the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir. Tampa Bay Water appealed the ruling and lost. The United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion Sept. 23, 2013, affirming the judgment of the trial court.
Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Tampa Bay Water approves budget
CLEARWATER - For the fourth consecutive year, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors approved a budget with no rate increase.
The board approved the 2014-2015 budget at its June 16 meeting.
The wholesale rate for water will remain at $2.56 per 1000 gallons, which equals two-tenths of a cent for one gallon.