Tampa Electric on June 8 received the Edison Electric Institute‘s (EEI’s) 2015 Edison Award for its innovative design and construction of a cutting-edge reclaimed water system at its Polk Power Station in Polk County, Florida.
“Tampa Electric demonstrated tremendous ingenuity by designing and building an innovative wastewater treatment system that protects the local environment while streamlining operations,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “The company also exhibited distinguished leadership by forging important regional partnerships to address the needs of all stakeholders.”
A panel of former electric company chief executives selected Tampa Electric for the 88th annual award from a group of distinguished finalists.
Tampa Electric planned the expansion of its Polk Power Station and its need for increased cooling water in an innovative manner that is friendly to consumers, the local community and the environment. The company forged creative regional partnerships with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Polk County and the cities of Lakeland and Mulberry. These communities use treated wastewater for irrigation. Much of this water, however, was surplus that was discharged into local waterways without being used. Tampa Electric partnered with these communities to obtain and use the reclaimed wastewater as coolant, resulting in significant environmental benefits.
In conjunction with these partnerships, the company designed and built an innovative reclaimed water-treatment project that offers dramatic environmental benefits to Hillsborough and Tampa bays. It is the first power plant in the U.S. to combine the use of reclaimed water and reverse-osmosis technology with deep-well disposal of wastewater, and it will benefit local wetlands and the surrounding communities. The project will advance the cleanup of local waterways by multiple years and will improve local ecosystems for generations to come.
“Tampa Electric’s cutting-edge project and work with the local community are terrific examples of how the electric power industry is creating partnerships and investing in innovative solutions to protect the environment while also better serving customers,” Kuhn said. “The Tampa Electric team is truly deserving of the 2015 Edison Award and should be tremendously proud of this reclaimed water project and all of the innovations at the Polk Power Station.”
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and directly employ more than 500,000 workers. EEI has 70 international electric companies as affiliate members and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as associate members.