Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If Government Can't Do It, Why Not Hire a Nonprofit?

The May 13, 2008, issue of the St. Petersburg Times reports that residents of Tampa, Florida are upset over the prospect of a private nonprofit sell its waste water to private corporations.  The nonprofit, Water Partners, Inc., will sell treated sewer water that would otherwise be dumped into Tampa Bay to corporate purchasers, including a local utility company, a fertilizer company and nearby county and city governments.  Government officials in in Tampa are concerned that a private company is being hired to do what the city of Tampa has failed to do after 10 years of trying.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

Why consider the public-private venture at all?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pressuring Florida to limit its release of pollutants into coastal waters, and state lawmakers are taking steps to make rules for reclaimed-water use. That could take away Tampa's control of its water altogether.

At a recent meeting, City Council member Charlie Miranda said the city should participate in all conversations about plans for its water, or legislators would "take it away from us for distribution to the region without one penny to the citizens who create it."

The plans involve Hillsborough County and a small amount of its reclaimed water, too. Commissioner Jim Norman recently asked for more time to consider the proposal, saying he is concerned about having a nonprofit group in charge and how much the plan might cost the county.

For the entire article, see "Letting Nonprofit Control Water Reuse Worries Tampa," in the May 13, 2008, issue of the St. Petersburg Times.


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