With virus cases down, Florida cities resume usual water use

Two of Florida’s largest cities have ended water emergencies now that COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined in the state

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 13 October 2021 16:20
Virus Outbreak Florida
Virus Outbreak Florida

Two of Florida s largest cities have ended water emergencies now that COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined drastically in the state.

Back in August, the city-owned Orlando Utilities Commission asked residents to stop watering their lawns or washing their cars because liquid oxygen that is used for treating the city's water was being diverted to hospitals for patients suffering from the virus. The utility made the decision as it faced the prospect of getting only half of its usual shipment of liquid oxygen used for water treatment.

Around the same time, the Tampa Water Department started using chlorine instead of its usual liquid oxygen method to disinfect its water of viruses and bacteria because liquid oxygen was being diverted to local hospitals.

Utility officials in Orlando said Tuesday that residents can resume their normal water use, including irrigating their lawns and washing their cars. In Tampa, water department officials also said they were going back to treating the 82 million gallons (310 million liters) of drinking water it produces each day with liquid oxygen.

“We were fortunate that we were able to quickly switchover to using chlorine as our primary way to disinfect the water. Not every water treatment plant affected by the shortage of liquid oxygen had that flexibility," said Chuck Weber, director of the Tampa Water Department. “The resumption of regular liquid oxygen deliveries, lets us return our normal operations.”

About 40% of the potable water in Orlando is used for irrigation, but Orlando users only cut back water consumption by 16%, hitting a low of 76 million gallons (288 million liters), indicating the restriction wasn't universally embraced. Nevertheless, Orlando Utilities Commission officials said they were able to get through the crunch and averted the need for a boil-water alert.

Since the 1990s, the utility has used liquid oxygen to remove the slight discoloration and rotten-egg smell that is found naturally in Florida’s water supply.

“With our community’s help in reducing the demand on our system, we were able to get through this difficult time together," said Clint Bullock, general manager and CEO of the utility.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Florida have declined from a high of around 17,000 in August to just over 3,300 this week.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in