Tampa Sees Drop in Desalination Prices

Tampa Bay Water has selected Stone & Webster Engineering and Poseidon Resources to design, build, own and operate a new desalination plant for the regional water utility. With a total capital cost approaching $100 million, it will be the largest privately financed water project in the United States.

Tampa Bay Water has selected Stone & Webster Engineering and Poseidon Resources to design, build, own and operate a new desalination plant for the regional water utility. With a total capital cost approaching $100 million, it will be the largest privately financed water project in the United States.

The 25 mgd desalination plant will provide wholesale water at a cost of $1.71 per thousand gallons for the first year of operation. The average cost over the 30-year life of the contract is $2.08 per thousand gallons. These prices will be the lowest ever produced for water from a seawater desalination plant anywhere in the world.

The plant will be built at the Tampa Electric Companys Big Bend Power Station near Apollo Beach, Fla., south of Tamps. At the end of the contract, period, Tampa Bay Water has the option of assuming ownership of the facility.

"The Tampa Bay desalination project represents the cutting edge of large-scale water procurement efforts," said Walter Howard, Poseidons president and CEO. "It proves there is a way to develop new, economical water resources which benefit both the consumers and environment."

The Stone & Webster teams proposal included all of the costs necessary to design, build, finance, own and operate the facility, which will serve the Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

The desalination project is part of a regional master plan designed to reduce the areas reliance on existing well fields. Desalination was considered as one of six options for producing water. Proposals from the four development teams that submitted bids to build the plant shattered price barriers for desalination plants worldwide, according to the Tamp Bay Water Co.

"All of these proposals were significantly lower than proposals for similar projects internationally over the past several years, and this is great news for Tamp Bay residents," said Jerry Maxwell, general manager for Tampa Bay Water. "The Tampa Bay facility will have important implications for the future acceptance of saltwater conversion as an alternative water source around the world."

"Our communities and their residents are the beneficiaries of this good news," said St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer, who is Chairman of Tampa Bay Water. "When we started, we were talking about water prices at $4 per thousand gallons."

Stone & Webster is a leader in designing and building desalination plants worldwide and has the distinction of having designed the worlds largest seawater desalination plant, the Al Jubail facility (Phase II), which produces more than 260 mgd.

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