WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla., Oct. 4, 2000 (St. Petersburg Times) — For the past few years, sulfurous fumes from a Pasco County sewer plant have assaulted the nostrils of motorists on Interstate 75.
But the Wesley Center Reuse Facility is due a $3-million upgrade that should not only sweeten the air, but also let Pasco County pump millions more gallons of reclaimed water to neighborhoods in Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes.
Residents of neighborhoods such as Meadow Pointe and the Lakes at Northwood, who buy the nutrient-rich treated wastewater for their lawns, have complained about the irrigation system frequently running dry.
New tanks and pumps at the plant, which sits east of I-75 near Boyette Road, will let the county store excess reclaimed water from west Pasco for use in central Pasco. The improvements should be done next year.
"For people on the reclaimed system it will mean more capacity and a more consistent supply," Pasco utilities chief Doug Bramlett said.
The county moves an average of 3-million gallons of sewer water through the 3-year-old plant each day. The sewage, exposed to air, releases hydrogen sulfide gas, responsible for the rotten-egg smell that hits drivers on I-75 north of State Road 54.
Pasco will install a $206,000 odor control system, essentially capturing and deodorizing the gas before it is released to the air.
"You won't smell it again — hopefully," Bramlett said.
The county is still paying the price for an April incident in which 25,000 gallons of smelly wastewater from a dormant pipe accidentally mixed with reclaimed water.
The dirty water fouled sprinkler heads in hundreds of homes, especially in Meadow Pointe and the Lakes at Northwood. Since spring, the county has spent $74,596 reimbursing homeowners for cleaning expenses.
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