Unlike neighbors in Orlando and three Tampa Bay area counties, Lakeland residents don’t need to worry about COVID-19 treatments affecting municipal water supplies or the taste of drinking water.

That’s the word from Bill Anderson, the city of Lakeland’s director of water utilities.

“While we certainly encourage water conservation for many reasons, that call for conservation is unrelated to COVID,” he said.

Unlike utilities in nearby counties, Lakeland does not use liquid oxygen in its water purification process, according to Anderson.

Earlier this week, city officials in Orlando and Winter Park asked residents to cut back on lawn watering and other water uses because liquid oxygen was being diverted to area hospitals for use in breathing treatments for COVID-19 patients.

A few days later, similar requests went out from Tampa Bay Water, a wholesaler serving municipal utilities in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. In Tampa and parts of Hillsborough, officials said residents may notice a change in the taste of water as they switch to other purification methods.

“Some utilities do use liquid oxygen in their production of ozone,” Anderson said.  “The ozone is then used to help reduce taste and odor in their drinking water as well as reduce their reliance on chlorine for disinfection.”

Lakeland’s water is initially softened with lime and then disinfected with chlorine, according to a Water Utilities employee. She adds that chemical levels are constantly monitored and the water quality tested. Lakeland’s water is initially softened with lime and then disinfected with chlorine, according to a Water Utilities employee. She adds that chemical levels are constantly monitored and the water quality tested. Learn more.


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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