Best in Nation, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Wastewater treatment plants are imperative for public health, as well as the protection of our community’s natural resources. The District’s wastewater system is made up of more than 1,325,000 feet or 250 miles of gravity sewer lines, nearly 1,000 low pressure pumping units, 195 pumping stations and 584,400 feet of major force mains. This network carries wastewater from homes and businesses to the regional treatment plant.
The District’s wastewater treatment facility, located in Jupiter, is owned, operated and maintained by the Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District. It serves the municipalities of Jupiter, Tequesta, Juno Beach, along with the unincorporated areas of northern Palm Beach and southern Martin Counties. The original treatment plant was founded in 1978, and has recently completed a third expansion bringing treatment capacity to 11 million gallons per day (MGD).
All collection and transmission facilities leading from the District have been designed and constructed to meet the build-out capacities for the projects, neighborhoods and commercial areas they serve so that demand will never exceed capacity.
Each day, the District’s wastewater plant receives between 6 and 7 million gallons of wastewater. Primary Treatment begins as wastewater enters the plant and passes through bar screens which remove large debris. A grit chamber then slows down the flow to allow sand and other heavy solids to settle at the bottom. Secondary Treatment completes the process beginning with an aeration tank, which supplies large amounts of air to a mixture of wastewater, bacteria and other microorganisms. The oxygen in the air speeds the growth of helpful microorganisms, which consume harmful organic matter. Then a secondary sedimentation tank, called a clarifier, allows the microorganisms and solid waste to form clumps and settle. The settled solids are removed from the tank and scrapers collect any residue on the surface. A disinfectant, such as chlorine, is then added to the water to complete the process. The clean water is then stored in retention lakes at the District to eventually be used as a valuable supply of irrigation water in area golf course, parks and residential communities.
The solids, which have been removed undergo a stabilization process to remove odors and disease-causing bacteria, dewatered to remove moisture, then dried and pressed before being disposed. Biolsolids can also be recycled as valuable fertilizers.
The current permitted capacity of the wastewater treatment plant is 11 million gallons per day or a capacity to accommodate the 100,000 people that will be living in our community by 2015. The recent completion of the third phase expansion extended the treatment plant up to the 11 million gallons per day.
During its tenure, the District has been a leader in wastewater management and the recipient of numerous of awards for excellence in wastewater treatment, including the Florida Engineering Society, the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Phelps Awards, the Florida Water Environment Association’s prestigious David W. York Award and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s highest honor, ‘Best in Nation.’