Officials hoping C.W. Bill Young Reservoir will be able to holds water following repairs for cracks

LITHIA, Fla. - As millions of gallons of water poured into the C.W. Bill Young Water Reservoir in Lithia Thursday, officials who operate the facility are hoping that they finally got it right.

That is, that the reservoir actually holds water.

"There were some problems that had to be addressed," said Matt Jordan, Tampa Bay Water's general manager.  Jordan said that for the last year, a hundred thousand tons of concrete have been poured into the drained reservoir as part of a repair project.  

The reservoir had been leaking, forcing the company to drain the entire hole and fix the issues.

"It developed some cracking.  Abnormal cracking," said Chuck Carden, Tampa Bay Water's chief operating officer. "We had to come in and investigate."

They found tears with the erosion control layer, so that became the key area for repairs.

It's expected that the reservoir will be half full by the end of the year and completely full by next spring or summer depending upon rainfall and the flow of the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers.  

The repairs were paid for by Tampa Bay Water, with the costs likely passed on to the six water utilities who are clients of the company. Ultimately, utility customers helped pay for the expensive repairs, which totaled $130 million.

But Tampa Bay Water blamed poor engineering for the problems and attempted to sue the firm that designed the reservoir for damages. It lost in court.

"That was very unfortunate, and we're very disappointed in the outcome of that," Carden said. "Be we turned the corner."

The company said the reservoir will provide the region with a supply of water that will lower dependence on ground water, which is becoming less plentiful.  

"It helps to make us more drought proof," Jordan said.

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