North Port to get better water with new plant

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NORTH PORT- It's an improvement every person who uses water in the areas largest city should see and taste.

Friday North Port unveiling it's nearly $10 million reverse-osmosis water treatment plant.

The city is doing back flips over what is touted to improve drinking water. The smell, the taste, even its effects on appliances. Vinny Ribaudo is a customer. "It's been pretty bad. It's hard. A terrible odor. It actually ruined a dishwasher we had in our mobile home."

The new 8,000 square foot plant going on line. Using a combination of groundwater and now wells dug deep down, improving reliability in dry times of the year. Also, just how good that water turns out to be says Utility Director Cindy Mick. "This is going to provide a much higher quality of water, so they won't see those spots on the glasses you see so much when you have hard water."

This is not only for current customers. It will also increase capacity to handle the thousands of residents who don't yet have lines where they live. Only about 1/3 of residents are currently hooked up. "I am bombarded with people in the city of North Port that are on wells and would like connect to the city's potable water system."

City leaders like Commissioner Jim Blucher say the capacity will help commercial growth too. "This town will grow if we do nothing. By doing this type of stuff we should be able to grow much smarter. We will be able to draw the types of businesses we want to draw. We will be able to draw more residents to a great community."

Not just a water plant. Those here like Ribaudo say it's a quality of life issue which literally touches everyone. "Drinking water is pretty important to everybody. If you have good quality water it helps improve everything in your life in general."

Venice city leaders were also on hand Friday. They too have plans to upgrade their facilities.

Right now the new system is slowly integrating with the old one, running for about five hours day. Soon they hope that will be up to 16 hours a day. That's when residents should start noticing the improvements more.

The project was paid for by utility fees along with state and federal dollars.