The Lithia Water Treatment Plant added another award to its accreditations recently when it was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.).

The plant was one of 14 facilities state wide presented with the 2017 Plant Operations Excellence Award which is given annually to domestic wastewater and drinking water facilities that demonstrate excellence in operation, maintenance, innovative treatment, waste education, pollution prevention, recycling or other achievements.

“It’s important to us that the dedication and commitment to excellence shown by these plant operators is celebrated,” said D.E.P. Assistant Director Kelley Boatwright. “Florida depends on clean water, so we are excited to work alongside these leading utilities and the communities they serve.”

The awards recognize facilities that demonstrate a special commitment to excellence in management through dedicated professionalism and that have an impeccable history of record keeping compliance.

“It is a humbling honor for our team to win the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s highest award for water operations,” said Hillsborough County Public Utilities Section Manager Mark Lehigh. “It recognizes our continued commitment to our customers and the community.”

The Lithia plant distributes an average of 30.25 million gallons of water per day to more than 390,000 residents throughout the south and central portions of the county. The largest water treatment facility owned by Hillsborough County, the plant has four water storage tanks on site, each holding five million gallons of treated water, about the same amount of water as 1,000 swimming pools.

Since beginning its operations in 1988, the plant has undergone multiple renovations to keep up with the water demand and has won 14 awards, including the D.E.P. recognition, since 2015.

“The award exemplifies our excellence of operations, dedication to water quality and the passion of our leadership team,” said Lehigh. “Working together, we continually strive to produce the best quality water available for our customers.”

The Florida D.E.P. was created to protect, conserve and manage the state’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution and maintains a state-wide system of parks, and preserves.

The Lithia Water Treatment Plant is located at 5402 Lithia Pinecrest Rd.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.