POTABLE WATER, WASTEWATER AND REUSE [PW/WW]

Pinellas County improves the quality-of-life of its residents and visitors by ensuring the distribution of safe drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater. It oversees the planning, assessment, and maintenance of the infrastructure that supports these vital services. The County develops a 10-Year Water Supply Facilities Work Plan, with key Objectives to ensure the construction of water facilities, alternative sources to offset potable water use, and conservation and reuse programs necessary to serve existing and new development for at least a 10-year planning period. Pinellas County maintains a Wastewater Master Plan and Program to address the County’s current and projected wastewater infrastructure needs. The goals, objectives and policies of this chapter support the safe and environmentally sound delivery of services, while ensuring they meet the needs of all citizens. This effort relies on strong coordination with the County’s local, state, and federal partners.

Everyday Actions

Some things that you can do to protect our water resources include:

  • Water early. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest.
  • Check irrigation system. Inspect sprinkler systems and timers regularly to ensure they are operating properly.
  • Don’t over fertilize. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water.
  • Plant native. Use native and drought-tolerant vegetation.
  • Upgrade to water-efficient emitters. Inspect your sprinkler system and adjust and install heads, rotors, or drip irrigation emitters that are more efficient alternatives.
  • Turn irrigation down in fall and off in winter. Water manually in winter only if needed.
  • Invest in a weather-based irrigation controller – or a smart controller. These devices will automatically adjust the watering time and frequency based on soil moisture, rain, wind, and evaporation and transpiration rates.
  • Make the most of rainfall. Collect rainwater from your rain gutters in rain barrels to use during dry periods.

Did you Know?

  • ‘Flushable’ wipes ARE NOT flushable. They clog your sewer system and can backup wastewater into your house.
  • Avoid disposal of non-flushable such as: grease, wipes, and other personal care products into the sewer system and in maintaining building plumbing, private laterals, and cleanouts.

Potable Water Goals, Objectives, Policies & Strategies 

PW GOAL 1 (Potable Water):  

ENSURE HIGH QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE POTABLE WATER TO MEET EXISTING AND PROJECTED DEMAND.

PW OBJECTIVE 1.1:  

Ensure that adequate and dependable supplies of potable water are available to meet existing
and projected water demand.

PW POLICY 1.1.1:  

Collaborate with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), Tampa Bay Water and local governments to forecast regional potable water needs.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.1.1:  

Refine methods of water demand forecasting and collectively agree on projected needs.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.1.2:  

Track trends in water demand forecasting and collectively agree on projected needs.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.1.3:  

At the regional level, continually evaluate the cost of water associated with the existing water supply partnership to ensure affordable and competitively-priced potable water for the consumer and to support the local economy.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.1.4:  

Identify, research, and promote viable alternative water supply sources to address continuing demand.

PW POLICY 1.1.2:  

Support local and regional partnerships to ensure an adequate potable water supply.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.2.1:  

Coordinate water supply facilities planning with:

  • The SWFWMD Regional Water Supply Plan, and
  • The Tampa Bay Water Master Water Plan.
PW POLICY 1.1.3:  

Collaborate with the SWFWMD, Tampa Bay Water and local governments to conserve and protect regional water resources and to ensure adequate water supply capacity and equitable distribution.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.3.1:  

In the event the regional system experiences a “shortfall” or “production failure”, the County will take actions to reduce demand or use alternative sources as defined by the interlocal agreement:

  • Institute additional water conservation measures;
  • Halt or otherwise restrict the issuance of development orders and permits;
  • Develop new sources of potable water within the parameters of the interlocal agreement;
  • Purchase potable water from suppliers other than Tampa Bay Water;
  • Cooperate with Tampa Bay Water, SWFWMD, and the affected local governments to develop a regional response to the situation; and
  • Use actions and alternatives not identified within this Policy.
PW STRATEGY 1.1.3.2:  

Utilize the groundwater protection program to protect and conserve the potable water resource.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.3.3:  

Utilize the concurrency management program to link land use and water management.

PW POLICY 1.1.4:  

Implement a sustainable water conservation program to reduce demand on potable water resources.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.4.1:  

Promote the use of shallow wells, open surface water bodies and reclaimed water for landscape irrigation.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.4.2:  

Develop, encourage and participate in educational efforts that promote potable water conservation such as Florida Friendly Landscaping™ and the healthy lawns program.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.4.3:  

All new landscaping at the County’s urban/constructed facilities will use native or drought tolerant landscaping on 80% of their landscaped area.

PW POLICY 1.1.5:  

Develop a plan to ensure sustainable potable water infrastructure regarding sea level rise susceptibility.

PW STRATEGY 1.1.5.1:  

Evaluate potable water infrastructure and identify needs to protect vulnerable assets.

PW OBJECTIVE 1.2:  

Provide safe treatment, transmission and distribution of potable water.

PW POLICY 1.2.1:  

Develop and maintain a 10 year workplan for potable water, treatment, transmission and distribution.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.1.1:  

The 10 year workplan will be consistent with the Regional Water Supply Plan.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.1.2:  

Potable water will be supplied by Tampa Bay Water, except as otherwise provided in the interlocal agreement and master water supply contract with Tampa Bay Water.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.1.3:  

Establish and implement a potable water asset management system.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.1.4:  

Prepare a capital improvements program annually. Projects will be evaluated and ranked for inclusion in the six year schedule of improvements.

PW POLICY 1.2.2:  

Establish levels of service for the Water Demand Planning Area.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.2.1:  

The following levels of service are established to guide the annual 5 year and 20 year potable water demand projections:

PW STRATEGY 1.2.2.2:  

Apply the level of service established by the municipal service provider to determine if adequate capacity is available for (re)development served by a municipal potable water system.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.2.3:  

The concurrency management system will require that the potable water levels of service are met as a prerequisite to the issuance of development orders and building permits.

PW POLICY 1.2.3:  

Ensure that the treatment of potable water meets federal and state standards.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.3.1:  

Provide the necessary treatment to improve corrosion control.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.3.2:  

Collect samples to monitor water quality.

PW STRATEGY 1.2.3.3:  

Work with Tampa Bay Water to ensure high quality water that meets the conditions of the interlocal agreement.

PW OBJECTIVE 1.3:  

Provide affordable and competitively priced potable water.

PW POLICY 1.3.1:  

Establish rates and fees to meet fiscal requirements.

PW STRATEGY 1.3.1.1:  

Establish water rates based on sound fiscal policy and best practices of national high-performance water suppliers.

PW STRATEGY 1.3.1.2:  

Evaluate the feasibility of expanding available utility product choices.

PW STRATEGY 1.3.1.3:  

Set water rates in consideration of Tampa Bay Water’s unitary rate and the comparative rates of other water suppliers in the region.

PW STRATEGY 1.3.1.4:  

Encourage municipalities supplying potable water to unincorporated areas to provide services proportionate to additional surcharges.

Wastewater Goals, Objectives, Policies & Strategies

WW GOAL 1 (Wastewater):  

PROVIDE SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND COLLECTION,
TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL OF WASTEWATER.

WW OBJECTIVE 1.1:  

Utilize a Wastewater Master Plan and Program (WWMP) to ensure the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of our residents and visitors, and the protection of the natural environment and to meet current and projected wastewater demands.

WW POLICY 1.1.1:  

A WWMP should be utilized to address the following:
Existing and future demand for the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater;
Regionalization of wastewater management;
Wastewater collection;
Wastewater treatment;
Wastewater effluent and biosolid disposal; and
Reclamation and reuse of treated wastewater.

WW POLICY 1.1.2:  

Support regionalization of wastewater management.

WW STRATEGY 1.1.2.1:  

Promote expansion of public wastewater collection systems to all areas of the County.

WW STRATEGY 1.1.2.2:  

Coordinate with municipalities to provide regional alternatives for:

  • The treatment of wastewater;
  • The disposal of wastewater effluent and biosolids; and
  • The reclamation and reuse of treated wastewater.
WW OBJECTIVE 1.2:  

Develop and maintain a wastewater collection system.

WW POLICY 1.2.1:  

Require (re)development to connect to a public wastewater collection system.

WW STRATEGY 1.2.1.1:  

The County Code will include criteria, standards and procedures to ensure that (re)development is connected to a public wastewater collection system.

WW POLICY 1.2.2:  

Require (re)development to maintain established levels of service.

WW STRATEGY 1.2.2.1:  

The County Code will require that (re)development demonstrate that adequate wastewater collection capacity is available as a prerequisite for the issuance of development orders or building permits.

WW POLICY 1.2.3:  

Restrict the use of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems and encourage connection to a public wastewater collection system.

WW STRATEGY 1.2.3.1:  

On-site sewage treatment and disposal systems shall only be permitted in those areas which are both:

  • Not subject to the requirements of Pinellas County Ordinance Section 126-302 (connection to Pinellas County sewer system required); and
  • Where geology and soils are conducive to effective and sanitary operation and which comply with the requirements of Chapter 10d-6 (standards for on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems) of the Florida Administrative Code.
WW STRATEGY 1.2.3.2:  

Utilize the County Code to:

  • Require hook-up to the public wastewater collection system when available and enforce connection requirements where onsite sewage disposal systems are a known pollution problem;
  • Exempt existing single-family residential with on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems that meet the minimum requirement of one unit per two acres from the requirements of the County’s wellfield protection program;
  • Exempt future single-family (re)development that meets the minimum requirement of one unit per two acres from the requirements of the County’s wellfield protection program, except when there is opportunity to tie into existing infrastructure; and
  • Prohibit on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems where the geology and soils are unsuitable; and restrict on-site systems in wellfield protection areas.
WW STRATEGY 1.2.3.3:  

Provide educational materials to residents and businesses regarding compliance with connection requirements.

WW OBJECTIVE 1.3:  

Provide safe and adequate treatment for all wastewater generated throughout the wastewater service area.

WW POLICY 1.3.1:  

Wastewater treatment will comply with all established federal and state standards.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.1.1:  

Design, construct, operate and maintain all potable water treatment facilities to meet the standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.1.2:  

Continually monitor the quality of treated wastewater to ensure compliance with established standards.

WW POLICY 1.3.2:  

Maintain wastewater treatment capacity to meet established levels of service.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.2.1:  

Provide the levels of service necessary for proper wastewater treatment, reuse and disposal to ensure the protection of citizens and the environment and to meet the current and projected wastewater treatment facility demands.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.2.2:  

Wastewater flows associated with existing and permitted development cannot exceed the wastewater treatment plant’s permitted design capacity.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.2.3:  

Treated effluent and biosolids shall meet all pertinent federal, state and local standards and regulations for treatment, reuse and disposal.

WW POLICY 1.3.3:  

For concurrency management purposes, (re)development can be permitted if available treatment capacity exceeds the needs of existing and committed development.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.1:  

Annually compare wastewater flows to permitted treatment capacity to determine the percentage of available capacity and assess whether permitted treatment capacity exceeds the needs of existing and committed development. Unpredictable situations where permitted capacity is temporarily exceeded due to unanticipated situations such as limited/extreme weather conditions shall not impact the determination of level of service conditions.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.2:  

Peak design flow capacity shall be between 1.5 and 2.5 times the average daily flow for each sanitary sewer system, based on the individual characteristics of the system.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.2:  

Peak design flow capacity shall be between 1.5 and 2.5 times the average daily flow for each sanitary sewer system, based on the individual characteristics of the system.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.3:  

If an annual assessment evidences that a capacity deficit could occur within 10 years, Pinellas County utilities will prepare a more detailed capacity analysis as directed by 62-600.405, F.A.C, and determine whether facility expansion is required or if the service area is built out.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.4:  

To determine whether adequate capacity is available for a (re)development project in the unincorporated county that is served by a municipal wastewater system, Pinellas County will utilize the level of service standards adopted by the municipal service provider.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.3.5:  

Identify service areas where additional treatment capacity may be required to meet existing and projected demand.

WW POLICY 1.3.4:  

A capital improvements program to address projected capacity deficits will be prepared annually.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.4.1:  

Evaluate and prioritize new projects for inclusion in the six year schedule of improvements.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.4.2:  

Give priority to existing facility deficiencies or needs. Projects to accommodate future development will have secondary priority.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.4.3:  

Ensure proper maintenance and integrity of the wastewater and reuse system infrastructure.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.4.4:  

The concurrency management system will require that the wastewater levels of service are met as a prerequisite to the issuance of development orders and building permits.

WW POLICY 1.3.5:  

Protect wastewater treatment facilities and their operation from natural disasters.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.5.1:  

Existing wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure located within the Coastal Storm Area will be maintained.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.5.2:  

No new wastewater treatment facilities will be sited within the Coastal Storm Area.

WW STRATEGY 1.3.5.3:  

Evaluate wastewater infrastructure and identify needs to protect vulnerable assets.

WW OBJECTIVE 1.4:  

Develop and maintain a disposal system for wastewater effluent and biosolids.

WW POLICY 1.4.1:  

Provide adequate and environmentally sound disposal of wastewater effluent and biosolids.

WW STRATEGY 1.4.1.1:  

Apply best available technologies to ensure the environmentally sound disposal of wastewater effluent and biosolids and to maximize the use of wastewater resources for beneficial reuse purposes.

WW POLICY 1.4.2:  

Develop and maintain a reclaimed water program and reuse master plan to reduce demand on potable water resources and limit the impact of fresh water withdrawals on the natural environment.

WW STRATEGY 1.4.2.1:  

Reclaimed water will be distributed to service areas established by the reuse master plan. Priority will be given to residential subdivisions.

WW STRATEGY 1.4.2.2:  

Provide public education about the benefits and use of reclaimed water.

WW STRATEGY 1.4.2.3:  

Investigate the optimization of aquifer recharge technology to provide greater stability to the reclaimed water source.