PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Hurricane season is just days away, and preparations on many levels are being made just in case a storm heads toward Tampa Bay area counties.

What You Need To Know

  • The S-551 water control structure on Lake Tarpon’s outfall canal is currently receiving upgrades to extend the life of the structure

  • The structure protects from saltwater intrusion and flooding, helps protects the lake’s freshwater ecology

  • A technique called cathodic protection is used to protect the rebar inside the structure against saltwater corrosion

  • The upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of July, with final touches done by October

The Southwest Water Management District is updating a water control structure, S-551, on Lake Tarpon's outfall canal.

The structure, which was built in the 1970s, protects saltwater intrusion into Lake Tarpon and flooding during high water events.

“It prevents salt water intrusion, it maintains the fresh water ecology and maintains water levels in Lake Tarpon," said Sammy Huey, a senior professional engineer with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The engineers and construction crews are making repairs to the structure through a method called cathodic protection. 

The method works to protect the concrete and rebar, which holds this structure up, from saltwater and corrosion. 

“These are the bulk anodes that are going to be installed on the outside of the structure," Huey said. "These are made out of zinc anode metal material."

The metal anodes are installed and they attract the corrosive element in the water, which then corrode the anode and not the rebar. 

“What we are looking at are the anodes that are being installed inside of the concrete," Huey said. "We have the form work in place, and we will be removing that once the concrete has cured."

Anodes have been placed all over the structure, including below the water and inside the concrete. 

“This gives it a fresh bill of health," said Huey. 

Huey said they expect to complete the project by the end of July, and finish up all final touch ups by the end of October.