Water Quality Report

Water Quality Report

About This Report

Tampa Bay Water is pleased to present its 2021 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, also known as the Consumer Confidence Report.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) require that all water utilities provide their customers with a water quality report annually. This report contains details about your sources of drinking water, how it is treated, what it contains and how it compares to federal and state standards. This report is a snapshot of last year’s water quality.

Providing You With High Quality Water

If you live in Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas counties, chances are you get your water from a utility that is served by Tampa Bay Water. We are a regional water utility that provides wholesale water to those three counties as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. These municipalities, in turn, provide drinking water to more than 2.5 million people in the Tampa Bay region.

We consider it a tremendous responsibility, and honor, to provide our region with high-quality drinking water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Water is vital not only to our health and wellbeing but to our economy and way of life. We are pleased to report that in 2021 the water we provided to our member governments met or was better than all state and federal drinking water health standards. Public health and safety are top priorities and Tampa Bay Water is committed to providing a clean and reliable drinking water supply.

Tampa Bay Water works hard to ensure the quality of your drinking water. Last year, we collected nearly 5,000 samples and conducted nearly 45,000 water quality tests in our
state-certified laboratory to ensure we meet:

  • More than 100 local, state and federal drinking water parameters
  • 17 additional, stringent parameters established by our member governments

Our high-quality supply is also a great value. We withdraw, treat, disinfect and supply our member utilities with high-quality water for less than a penny a gallon. The next time you reach for a glass of water, you can feel confident in its quality as  well as its cost.

Where Does Your Water Come From?

Most residents who live in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties get their water from Tampa Bay Water through their local utility. Your drinking water comes from a diverse water supply network that is designed to be responsive to weather conditions, water quality and more. Tampa bay Water's supply is a blend of treated groundwater, river water and desalinated seawater. Our supplies are interconnected, so we can shift sources as needed. For example, when river water is plentiful, we can use more of that supply and less of others.

Groundwater comes from wellfields pumping water from the Floridan Aquifer. River water is withdrawn from the Alafia River, Hillsborough River and the Tampa Bypass Canal. Surplus river and canal water is stored in the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, which supplies our surface water treatment plant during dry times. Hillsborough bay is the source of seawater for the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant.

After treatment, all of these potable water supplies meet stringent safe drinking water standards as set by the EPA and the FDEP. Even more, our member utilities have 17 additional parameters that Tampa Bay Water must meet beyond what is required. We are also studying ways to further improve the quality of water delivered to our member governments.

Understanding Source Water Quality

The sources of drinking water include rivers, seawater, and groundwater wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it can dissolve naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include:

  • Microbial contaminants such as viruses and bacteria that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural-livestock operations and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants such as salts and metals that can be naturally-occurring or result from stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, mining or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides that may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, stormwater runoff and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants including synthetic and volatile organics that are byproducts of industrial processes, and can come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants that can be naturally occurring or the result of mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for  contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Water

With different sources of supply, Tampa Bay Water has different treatment processes, each engineered to clean and disinfect drinking water so it meets or is better than the health-based standards for drinking water established in accordance  with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Our water treatment plants use proven technology, advanced disinfection, corrosion control and state-certified operators to ensure a high-quality product.

Groundwater requires less treatment than river water and seawater because nature does most of the cleaning for us. The Floridan Aquifer serves as a natural filter as water moves through it, eliminating the need to remove particles before we disinfect and blend it with our other sources.

Our surface water treatment plant and seawater desalination plant use multi-step processes for added safety. Both facilities screen water to remove large debris, then they each use a conventional treatment process where water purification chemicals are added that cause small particles to clump together and settle out. At the surface water treatment plant the water is disinfected using ozone, one of the most powerful disinfectants available in water treatment. The water is again
filtered and disinfected with chloramines before being blended with other sources and distributed to our members.

At the seawater desalination plant, after the conventional process, water flows through progressively finer filters to remove any remaining matter. Highly filtered seawater is then forced at high pressure through reverse osmosis (RO) membranes that remove salt. The size of each RO membrane pore is about .001 microns, which is about 1/100,000th the diameter of a human hair. Chemicals are added to stabilize the desalinated seawater, which is then disinfected with chloramines before being blended and distributed.

Tampa Bay Water uses chloramines as a final disinfectant to reduce disinfection byproducts, reduce the potential for chlorine smell and produce better tasting water. Tampa Bay Water determined that it is a prudent practice to maintain disinfection residuals higher than the regulatory minimums in our regional water systems. These higher levels ensure microbial safety throughout our vast distribution network and to our most distant customers.

About Water Quality

All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or by visiting epa.gov/wqs-tech.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immunocompromised persons such as patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk of infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. The EPA and Center for Disease Control guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

Lead in Drinking Water Source Water Assessments

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing.

Tampa Bay Water and its members are responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basicinformation-about-lead-drinking-water.

Source Water Assessments

The FDEP’s Source Water Assessment & Protection Program is meant to ensure that your drinking water is safe, not just at the tap, but at its source. Initiated as part of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the program identifies potential threats to drinking water supplies with the goal to protect our vital resources.

The most recent Source Water Assessment reported by the FDEP for Tampa Bay Water facilities was in 2021. Potential sources of contamination were assessed by the FDEP as “low risk” and “moderate risk” for groundwater sources and “high risk” near Tampa Bay Water’s surface water intakes. The classification is for source waters and does not apply to the finished water we deliver to our members. A multi-step, advanced treatment process is used at Tampa Bay Water’s Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant to ensure clean water for our members and their customers. The assessment results are available on the FDEP Source Water Assessment and Protection Program website at prodlamp.dep.state.fl.us/swapp. For help with understanding these results, contact Tampa Bay Water at (727) 796‑2355 or (813) 996‑7009.

Safeguarding Our Sources of Supply

Protecting river water, groundwater and Tampa Bay from contamination protects your drinking water, the environment, and saves money and energy. The cleaner the source water, the less treatment that’s required — which means less energy and fewer chemicals are needed to clean the water. You can help prevent pollution by following a few simple steps.

Put Trash in the Proper Place

Whether it’s the trash can or recycle bin, put trash where it belongs. Plastic does not decompose and can harm many animals and fish as well as pollute the water.

Use Florida-Friendly Fertilizer
Use slow-release fertilizer in the garden and on the lawn with only ¼ inch of water. Watch the weather and never fertilize before rain. Rain washes fertilizer into the environment. When possible, use Florida-friendly plants —they use minimal water and fertilizer.

Use an Ashtray
Discarded cigarette butts are carried by rainwater to the nearest storm drain, drainage ditch, pond, lake or bay. Cigarettes are not biodegradable — they are pollution.

Never Dump Into Storm Drains
In many municipalities, it is illegal to dump chemicals, oil, sewage or yard waste into the stormwater system. If you see someone polluting, report the incident to your local city or county government.

Pick Up After Your Pet
Pet waste contains harmful bacteria that make people sick and cause harmful algae blooms.

Key Terms in This Report

Some of the terms, acronyms and abbreviations used in this report are unique to the water industry and may be unfamiliar to some readers. Following are some definitions of key terms to make this report easier to understand.

Contaminant: An undesirable or potentially harmful physical, biological, chemical or radiological substance.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP): The government agency that has the primary role of regulating public water systems in Florida.

HAA5: Total concentration of five haloacetic acids: dibromoacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, monochloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid.

Locational Running Annual Average (LRAA): The average of sample analytical results for samples taken at a particular monitoring location during the previous four calendar quarters.

Maximum Contaminant Level or MCL: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal or MCLG: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level or MRDL: The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal or MRDLG: The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial  contaminants.

Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU): Measure of the clarity of water. Turbidity in excess of 5 NTU is just noticeable to the average person.

No Detect: Not detected in laboratory analysis.

Parts Per Billion (PPB): One ppb is comparable to one drop of water in 55,000 gallons.

Parts Per Million (PPM): One ppm is comparable to one drop of water in 55 gallons.

Picocuries Per Liter (pCi/L): A measure of radiation.

Running Annual Average (RAA): The average of sample analytical results for samples taken during the previous four calendar quarters.

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): A federal law passed in 1974 and amended in 1986 and 1996 that sets health-based standards for drinking water and requires treatment and monitoring of those standards; established maximum contaminant levels and treatment techniques for chemicals, metals and pathogens.

TTHMs: Total concentration of trihalomethanes - chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane.

Turbidity: Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of the water. We monitor it because it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of our filtration system. High turbidity can hinder the effectiveness of disinfectants.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The federal agency responsible for protecting public health and the environment by developing and enforcing regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act.

WTP: Water treatment plant.

About Tampa Bay Water

Tampa Bay Water was created through enabling legislation to provide wholesale drinking water to Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. We are a not-for-profit government utility funded solely through the sale of water to our members.

We encourage public interest and participation in decisions affecting drinking water. Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors meets at 9:30 a.m. on the third Monday of every month, unless noticed on our website, at 2575 Enterprise Road,  Clearwater, FL 33763-1102. Public comment is taken at every meeting. Find out more about Tampa Bay Water at tampabaywater.org. For more information about this report, contact Tampa Bay Water’s Public Affairs department at (727) 796-
2355 or (813) 996-7009.

Results for Regulated Water Contaminants

How To Read These Tables

Tampa Bay Water continually monitors for contaminants in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations. Except where indicated otherwise, this report is based on the results of our monitoring for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2021. Data obtained before January 1, 2021, if presented in this report, are from the most recent testing done in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations. The table shows the results of our water quality analyses. Every regulated contaminant that we detected in the water, even in the most minute traces, is listed in this report. The table contains the name of each substance, the maximum level allowed by regulation (MCL), the ideal goals for
public health (MCLG), the amount detected, the usual sources of such contamination, footnotes explaining our findings, and a key to the units of measurement. Definitions of MCL and MCLG are important. The State allows us to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. Some data, though representative, are more than one year old.

Regulated Water Contaminants in River Water Sources

The results for the tables below are regulated by federal and state agencies. For a complete list including unregulated contaminants, please call (727) 796-2355 or email records@tampabaywater.org.

Results for Regulated Water Contaminants

How To Read These Tables

Tampa Bay Water continually monitors for contaminants in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations. Except where indicated otherwise, this report is based on the results of our monitoring for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2021. Data obtained before January 1, 2021, if presented in this report, are from the most recent testing done in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations. The table shows the results of our water quality analyses. Every regulated contaminant that we detected in the water, even in the most minute traces, is listed in this report. The table contains the name of each substance, the maximum level allowed by regulation (MCL), the ideal goals for
public health (MCLG), the amount detected, the usual sources of such contamination, footnotes explaining our findings, and a key to the units of measurement. Definitions of MCL and MCLG are important. The State allows us to monitor for some contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants do not change frequently. Some data, though representative, are more than one year old.

Regulated Water Contaminants in River Water Sources

The results for the tables below are regulated by federal and state agencies. For a complete list including unregulated contaminants, please call (727) 796-2355 or email records@tampabaywater.org.

Regulated Water Contaminants in Seawater Sources

The results for the tables below are regulated by federal and state agencies. For a complete list including unregulated contaminants, please call (727) 796-2355 or email records@tampabaywater.org.

Regulated Water Contaminants in Groundwater Sources

The results for the tables below are regulated by federal and state agencies. For a complete list including unregulated contaminants, please call (727) 796-2355 or email records@tampabaywater.org.

Definitions

Inorganic Contaminants: Results in the “Level Detected” column are the highest detected level at any sampling point.

Likely Source of Contamination: Potential sources of contamination generally identified by the FDEP, Consumer Confidence Report Template Instructions and Template, FRWA/DEP, February 2021.

Maximum Contaminant Level or MCL: The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal or MCLG: The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level or MRDL: The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal or MRDLG: The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial  contaminants.

Monthly Operating Report: Report sent to Florida Department of Environmental Protection for public water systems treating raw ground water or purchased finished water.

N/A: Not applicable

Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU): Measure of the clarity of water. Turbidity in excess of 5 NTU is just noticeable to the average person.

No Detect: Indicates the substance was not found by laboratory analysis.

Parts per billion (ppb) or Micrograms per liter (ug/L): One part by weight of analyte to 1 billion parts by weight of the water sample.

Parts per million (ppm) or Milligrams per liter (mg/L): One part of weight of analyte to 1 million parts by weight of the water sample.

Picocurie per liter (pCi/L): Measure of the radioactivity in water.

Radioactive Contaminants: Results in the “Level Detected” column are the highest detected level at any sampling point.

Sampling Point: Point of entry or point of connection to the distribution system where sample is collected.

Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection By-products:

  • For bromate, the “Level Detected” is the highest running annual average (RAA), computed quarterly, of monthly averages of all samples collected. The range of results is the range of results of all the individual samples collected during the
    past year.
  • For chlorine dioxide, the result in the “Level Detected” column is the highest single measurement collected at the entrance to the distribution system. For

2021, the facility did not use any chlorine dioxide in its operation.

  • For chlorite, the result in the “Highest Monthly Average” column is the highest monthly average from the three sample set collected in the distribution system.
  • For total organic carbon, the result in the “Lowest Running Annual Average Computed Quarterly Monthly Removal Ratio” column contains the lowest running annual average result of monthly removal ratios.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products: Results in the level detected for haloacetic acids and total trihalomethanes are based on a locational running annual average. The range of results is lowest to highest at individual sampling sites.

Treatment Technique or TT: A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Turbidity: The result in the “Lowest Monthly Percentage” column is the lowest monthly percentage of samples reported in the Monthly Operation Report that meet the required turbidity limits.