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Water Division

WATER DIVISION

Staff Hours:
M-F, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Location:
325 E. Pine St.
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Telephone:
(727)937-2557

For after hour emergencies, please contact the Emergency Answering Service at (727) 234-4944

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Helpful Links:
Pinellas County Utilities
Tampa Bay Water
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ABOUT OUR DIVISION

The City of Tarpon Springs Water Division consists of the following functional groups:

1. WATER SUPPLY/WATER WELLS

common questions

2. METER REPAIR/BACKFLOW PREVENTION

3. STORM WATER MAINTENANCE/NPDES PERMIT DATA DIVISION

One of the primary functions of the Water Division is to maintain compliance with the various regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). Data is collected and assimilated into reports on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis. These reports include the Consumer Confidence Report, which is  published annually every July (starting 1999) and sent to all consumers and the corresponding regulatory agency.

Other reporting includes: annual lead and copper/corrosion, quarterly total trihalomethanes, annual National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and monthly bacteriological. The number of reports required by, and submitted to the various regulatory agencies in a year averages 140. These reports are used to insure that the City is provides a safe drinking water to the consumers, tracks ground water movement, protects surface water surrounding the City, and monitors hydrological conditions and water loss/water consumption.

WATER SUPPLY/WATER WELLS

The Water Supply/Water Wells Division is responsible for the production of water and the water quality throughout the City, and within the City’s service area. Water quality is monitored on a daily basis through the City’s 150+ miles of water distribution system. These daily water quality checks are designed to insure that the water you drink is safe, and meets all federally mandated guidelines. In addition to these daily water quality checks the Water Supply/Water Wells Division performs weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual sampling and testing for over 170 different water quality parameters. This information is sent to the Department of Environmental Regulation and as of October 1999, all public water supply systems where required to publish this information in a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), which is available on this web site. Hard copies of this report are available at City Hall, located at 324 E. Pine Street, within the Human Resources Department, Utilities Customer Service and Public Services Department. Other locations include, the City Library located on Lemon Street, and the Chamber of Commerce.
 
The City utilizes its own supply wells, augmented by supply from Pinellas County to provide water to its customers. All water produced and purchased meets or exceeds stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. The average daily water usage within the City’s water service area is 3.5 million gallons per day. It is estimated that almost half of the water that is consumed by the customer is used for irrigation.

COMMON QUESTIONS:

DISINFECTANT CHANGE
In May 2002, the City of Tarpon Springs, in association with Pinellas County and Tampa Bay Water changed the primary disinfectant from Chlorine to Chloramines. This change was a direct result of the new Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for disinfectant byproducts rule.
 
WHAT ARE CHLORAMINES?
Chloramines are the combining of Chlorine with Ammonia, through this combining the ammonia attaches itself to the chlorine creating the disinfectant known as Chloramines.
 
HOW MUCH AMMONIA IS ADDED TO PRODUCE CHLORAMINES?
The actual amount of ammonia added is extremely small. The ratio of chlorine to ammonia is between 4:1 and 5:1 and the final concentrations are in terms of parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L).
 
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CHLORAMINES?
YES, people on dialysis should make sure that the dialysis machine is outfitted with proper filters to remove ALL disinfectants.
 
Aquariums, fish ponds and other such aquatic life is vulnerable to chloramines, proper removal of chloramines should be performed prior to adding water to these environments. This can be accomplished by the purchase of special chemicals available at your local pet store.


WHAT IS THE CALCIUM HARDNESS OF THE WATER?
Because the water within the Floridan aquifer passes through layers of lime rock, the water is classified as hard. The Calcium hardness of the water within the tri-county area, including Tarpon Springs, averages between 175 mg/L (milligrams per liter) and 225 mg/L. or 12 to 15 grains.
 
DOES THE WATER HAVE FLUORIDE IN IT?
Pinellas County Utilities is the primary supplier of drinking water for the City of Tarpon Springs.  The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners approved the addition of fluoride to the water system on November 29, 2012, with implementation on March 1, 2013.  More information can be found on the Pinellas County website.
 
WHY DOES MY HOT WATER SMELL LIKE ROTTEN EGGS?
Because the Floridan water is rich in calcium and magnesium, these elements when thermally heated precipitate out of solution. Because the temperature within the water heater is normally set at 110 to 120 degrees, this promotes potential growth of sulfide generating bacteria. It is this sulfide generating bacteria that create the rotten egg odor within your water heater. One way of removing this bacteria is every so often turn all the hot water taps on within the home, this should create a demand on the system churning up the sedimentation which should remove it from your hot water tank. If this does not work, you may have to drain the water heater and flush it.

METER REPAIR/BACK FLOW PREVENTION

The meter repair/back flow prevention technicians are responsible for the annual testing repairs and maintenance of backflow prevention devices within the City. These backflow devices are from 3/4" up to 8” in size and are vital in the protection of the City’s potable water supply. The backflows are installed at the customer's meter, and prevents the back-siphoning/backflow of any possible contaminants that may be present on the consumer’s side. This program is known as the cross connection program, which was implemented in 1987 as part of the Clean Water Act. Backflow prevention devices under the Clean Water Act/EPA/DEP/DOH and City Ordinance, Chapter 20, Article V, are required to be installed at residential and commercial businesses on the potable water meter connection, where it is deemed to impose a threat on the potable drinking water system. Some of these include: power plants, high rise complexes, food preparation, hospitals, gas stations, beauty salons, doctors offices, chemical plants, potable water irrigation systems, reclaimed/reuse water irrigation system and private well irrigation systems. You can obtain a complete list requiring backflow prevention devises from the City of Tarpon Springs Clerks Office under City Ordinance, Chapter 20, Article V.
 
If you have a backflow prevention device, please be advised that because the backflow device does not allow for water to flow backward through thermal heating of water, thermal expansion can occur within your system. This thermal expansion may affect your water heater causing the thermal expansion/pressure relief valve located at the top to periodically open (sputter or spurt). If this is occurring, DO NOT REMOVE THE PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE ON YOUR WATER HEATER AND PLUG IT OFF. Without this relief valve, extreme pressure can develop within the water heater causing it to erupt violently and may cause serious injury to people and damage to property.

 
BACKFLOW PREVENTION
 
THERMAL EXPANSION CONTROL CONSIDERATIONS

The City has been and is continuing to install backflow prevention devices throughout the service area. These devices, often referred to as backflow assemblies, are installed on properties throughout the City’s service area, and all locations where reclaimed water is readily available for use as required by Federal, State and Local code. These devices protect the public drinking water system from contamination, thus providing an added level of protection. The installation of the backflow assembly prevents the movement of fluids back into the public drinking water systems. This creates what is most commonly called a “closed water system.”
 
In the past, before the installation of these devices, the public water main has provided a “cushion” that absorbed potential pressure build-up in the private plumbing system by allowing water to flow from the private water system back into the public water system. By Federal and State definitions; movement of water from an unmonitored source, or private plumbing system into a public water system is strictly prohibited. The most common condition that can cause the movement of water from the private plumbing side to the public drinking water system is called “thermal expansion”. This phenomenon can occur four to six times daily depending upon conditions.

 
The water in your home or business water heater goes through a heating process called the “recovery cycle”. This cycle occurs four to six times a day to maintain your hot water supply. The water in your water heater experiences thermal expansion each time the unit cycles. Since water cannot be compressed, what happens to the thermal expanded water in your plumbing system? The expanding water creates a rapid and dangerous pressure increase in the water heater and system piping much like the reaction of a hydraulic jack. Internal pressures repeatedly occurring during water heater recovery cycles have the potential to create pressure on the plumbing system as well as impacting the integrity of the water heater itself. Conditions that may be experienced as a result of this phenomenon could be; intermittent dripping faucets or shower heads, discharge from the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve on the water heater, etc.
 
Experience demonstrates that thermal expansion may occur as a result of any number of reasons that may exist on the property; faulty pressure reducing exist, inadvertent long term closing of private valves, installation of booster pumps, etc. Should such a condition exist or become apparent on your property, you are cautioned to follow the manufactures recommended testing and maintenance procedure for your hot water heater.

 
SOLUTION TO THERMAL EXPANSION
 
There are a number of products available in today’s market to address the thermal expansion issue, however, currently there are only two (2) that will provide long term service. A properly sized thermal expansion tank or a ball cock and relief valve assembly.  
 
This properly sized device is the most accepted method of controlling thermal expansion, and is recognized by the water heater industry in their literature and warranties.
 
The triple purpose toilet tank ball cock valve is designed to provide protection from thermal expansion as well. The device is designed to be installed in the place of your present ball cock assembly in your toilet tank. The assembly will govern and limit the domestic water system static pressure by discharging to the tank as required by plumbing codes.
 
Either solution requires periodic maintenance to ensure that the device is in good continuous working order. For more information regarding these assemblies you should contact your local plumbing supplier.
 
METER REPAIR
 
In addition to the backflow installation, repair, maintenance and certification program, the Meter Repair/Backflow Technicians, test and repair meters. Meters 2” and above are tested on an annual basis to insure proper calibration and consumption is accurate. Meters in general will record an average of 98% of all water that passes through them. To insure that consumers are being charged properly for the amount of water that is consumed, this annual meter testing is important.
 
The meter repair Division receives several calls each year from consumers that believe their meter is recording more water than they have consumed. However, because these devices are mechanical, as they get older, the moving parts inside wear and the meter slows down. The majority of these calls are the result of actual leakage beyond the meter either prior to entering the home or after entering. A leaky faucet at one drip per second will use 8.6 gallons per day, 263 gallons per month and 3,153 gallons per year. A leaking flapper valve in your toilet will leak at a rate of 5 drips per second and constitutes a steady stream. At 5 drips per second the amount of water lost per day is 43 gallons, 1,314 gallons per month and 15,770 gallons per year.
 
If you suspect that your water consumption has increased and you’re not sure why, within each standard 3/4” residential meter there is a built in leak detector. If you open your meter cover and look at the register you will see a small orange triangle or diamond. If this small dial is moving and there is no water being used within your home, you should check for leaks within your home. The City’s Utilities Customer Service Department has special dye packs that can be placed into the reservoir of your toilet to locate a leaking flapper valve.

STORM WATER MAINTENANCE

The Storm Water Maintenance Division was formed through the implementation of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which was part of the Clean Water Act passed and placed into effect in 1987.
 
The primary functions of the Storm Water Maintenance Division are the removal of sedimentation and trash and debris from the storm water collection system. Stormwater maintenance includes the removal of sedimentation and trash from stormwater treatment facilities (retention ponds), drainage swales and proper pond maintenance. This sedimentation not only impacts the environment, but also impedes the performance of the storm water collection system, which can potentially lead to localized flooding in areas. The removal of sedimentation from stormwater treatment facilities assists in the performance of these stormwater treatment facilities areas to recharge ground water through natural percolation and prevents harmful by-products from entering surface water surrounding the City.
 
Under the directive of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NPDES permit conditions, the City of Tarpon Springs, in conjunction with 23 other cities within Pinellas County, adhere to maintenance guidelines, which are imposed to maintain water quality within lakes, streams, and rivers. The Storm Water Maintenance Division has removed over 20 years of sedimentation from the storm water collection system and stormwater treatment facilities.
 
Illicit discharges cause harm to the environment. These discharges come in many forms from someone throwing cigarette butts or trash onto the roadway, to the discharge of oil into the storm water collection system.

If you suspect spills of wastewater or any other hazardous material, you are encouraged to report the incident to the Stormwater Maintenance Department at 727-937-2557 or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) through a toll-free, 24 hour hotline known as the State Warning Point at 800-320-0519.
 
Other types of illicit discharges include:

Grass clippings
Fertilizers
Pesticides
Herbicides
Detergents

We all need the rain, so please do your part to prevent pollution and to prevent storm drain clogs that lead to flooding. By taking the actions recommended you will allow the benefits of rain to flow into the drain.

Don't blow soil, grass or leaves into the street or storm drain. Soils and sediment block pipes, and cloud waterways making it difficult for plants to grow.

Both pet waste and faulty septic systems contribute to fecal coliform in our recreational waters. Clean up pet waste and flush it down the toilet or put it in the garbage. Have septic tanks pumped and inspected every 3-5 years so they don’t leak.

Keep your car working properly so motor oil and fluids don't leak onto roads and into storm ponds and lakes.

Wash your car at a commercial car wash where wastewater is captured and treated or wash it on the lawn rather than over the driveway.

Never pour waste oil or antifreeze on the ground, into the street, or down an authorized storm drain.

Take unwanted hazardous household chemicals to a drop off location for proper disposal or recycling.

Use lawn chemicals wisely and fertilizers sparingly. Excess fertilizers flows downstream and often results in algae bloom in ponds and lakes.

Litter collects in ditches and waterways after storms. This is a great opportunity for a community trash pick up project.

STREET SWEEPING

In conjunction with storm water maintenance on drainage systems sedimentation removal and pond maintenance, the Street Sweeping program is the number one way the City helps to prevent pollutants from entering into waterways.
 
High-traffic areas (such as the business district) are swept daily, Monday through Friday. The balance of the City’s non-business area is divided into twelve (12) sections, which are swept on a rotational basis. This rotation schedule allows sweepable streets within the City to be swept every three (3) months or more frequently.

NPDES and Storm Water Educational and Related Sites:

State of Florida NPDES Stormwater Program 

NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems

Best Management Practices and Environmental Education Resources

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

NPDES Stormwater Outreach Materials

NPDES Polluted Runoff Fact Sheets

Southwest Florida Water Management District

Pinellas County Environmental Management

University of Florida IFAS Extension

Tampa Estuary Program