As Tampa Electric begins the final stages of the Big Bend Modernization project, area residents may see a large plume of steam emanating from the power plant in Apollo Beach during July.

The 100-foot-tall plume — containing only water vapor — is part of a pipe-cleaning process before the plant can begin full operations by the end of the year. Residents should not be alarmed by the plume and should not contact emergency services.

The steam cleaning is one of the final stages of the lengthy project.

The plume will begin next week and will continue for about a month, around the clock. Noise-abatement equipment will be used, so residents will not be disturbed by the process. Local law enforcement officials have been notified.

The Big Bend Modernization project is repowering Big Bend Unit 1 with state-of-the-art combined-cycle technology and has eliminated coal as that unit’s fuel. Construction began in August 2019. When completed at the end of this year, the project will be capable of producing 1,090 megawatts.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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