From left, from left, Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, and Water Supply Manager for Pinellas County Utilities Steve Soltau, back row, former Director of Pinellas County Utilities Robert Powell, Engineering Section Manager for Pinellas County Utilities Tom Menke, Florida House of Representatives Wengay Newton, Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long, Director of Pinellas County Utilities Randi Kim pose for a photo after the July 20 valve-turning ceremony.
TARPON SPRINGS – The Pinellas County government hosted a valve-turning ceremony on Thursday, July 20, at 11 a.m., at the S.K. Keller Water Treatment Plant, 3655 Keller Circle, in the East Lake area of Tarpon Springs.
Commissioner Janet Long from the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners spoke during the event, informing audience members of the facility having the latest in energy-saving technology, centralized operations, new booster pumps, maintenance, warehousing, and training facilities in the Category 3 hurricane-rated building. The new electrical building can withstand a Category 5 storm.
Long said the projected lifespan is 40-plus years, bringing safe, clean and reliable drinking water to the county.
“You get to turn your water faucet on and have clean water,” Long said. “It’s all Penny money.”
The project was started five years ago said Director of Pinellas County Utilities, Rani Kim. The operations building was originally built in the 1950’s, but now houses state-of-the-art operations.
“It says we really care about the environment,” Long said.
The facility is located in North Pinellas County so that the area would be closer to the Tampa Bay Water, where the county sources their water, Kim said.
At the Keller plant, the county can do the final treatment of the water and distribute all the way down to Fort De Soto Park.
“It’s over 1,000 miles of pipe,” Kim said.
Even though it’s only due to the water connecting point with Tampa Bay Water, County Commissioner David Eggers said it was still exciting that something like this is located in the unincorporated area.
“It’s exciting to be a focal point of the water,” Eggers said. “It’s a really neat day.”
Though he said the water quality in the area has in no way been bad, he said residents can expect even better drinking water.
He also added that it was exciting to see three counties and three cities come together and continue a regional approach toward clean water.
“This is what we’re suppose to be doing well,” Eggers said.