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Timing of survey about toilet-to-tap issue in Tampa just a coincidence

TAMPA — With a debate brewing about whether to ask Tampa voters if they want treated sewer water put into the drinking water supply, the city is participating in a study of attitudes toward recycled water.

The timing of the study and city's discussions, though, are coincidence.

Tampa agreed in June 2008 to help the WateReuse Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on water recycling and desalination, with its research.

It was a year later that council member Charlie Miranda suggested the city consider reusing the 50 million gallons of treated sewer water that Tampa dumps into the bay every day to supplement drinking water.

"I looked at Florida because Florida is an area where there are water shortages," said Linda MacPherson, vice president of reuse technologies at CH2MHill and the study's co-investigator. "I chose Tampa because it's a place where there's both desalination and water reuse issues

Other areas involved in the study are San Jose, Calif.; Denver; and two Australian cities. Results of the Tampa portion of the study will be shared with the city by the middle of next year, MacPherson said.

As one of the chosen cities, Tampa will organize focus groups for researchers.

Tampa residents can also fill out an online survey at

Among the questions:

Have you heard of reverse osmosis and desalination?

Do you believe public utilities can be trusted to provide safe drinking water?

How much of a health risk is posed by climate change, smog and pharmaceuticals in drinking water?

How risky do you consider driving a car, drinking reclaimed water, golfing in a thunderstorm and eating a high-fat diet?

Two of the first 400 people who fill out the survey will win $100.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Timing of survey about toilet-to-tap issue in Tampa just a coincidence 10/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:43pm]
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