Sixteen years after city officials first explored the idea, Oldsmar residents can now drink from the city's own water supply.
It's cheaper and tastier, says Lisa Rhea, the city's public works director.
The new water treatment plant, an $18.7 million project funded by grants and loans, will save Oldsmar money by stabilizing the cost of water, Rhea said.
Because the price of Pinellas County water (which the city used until September) rose annually, so did local utility bills.
Residents can now expect costs to stay low, Rhea said.
"We don't have to depend on anyone else anymore," she said.
The plant at 350 Commerce Blvd. is the largest public works project in city history. About three months ago, it started filtering brackish water through reverse osmosis, making up to 2 million gallons a day.
In the past couple of weeks, after a slow transition from Pinellas County's supply of "hard" water, Oldsmar completely switched to "soft" water.
"You can drink it without a filter," Rhea said.
Although the plant is fully functional, workers are still putting finishing touches on it. After a ribbon-cutting next month, officials will have public tours on Jan. 18.
Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.