Pompano Beach, Fla.
Pompano Beach, Fla., has renovated its water treatment system. By expanding supply and treatment, and expanding recycling capabilities, the city is poised to meet long-term drinking water needs for a growing population.
For years, Pompano Beach relied on a coastal wellfield for its drinking water. However, by the late 1980s, both local and state regulators were concerned that saltwater intrusion from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway would harm private wells and the acquifier in and around public wells. As a result, the city was denied a consumptive use permit for the wellfield.
In response, in 1988, the city transferred a portion of its withdrawals to a new wellfield that it built to the west of the coastal wellfield. At the same time, to help save potable water, it constructed a small Recycle Water Treatment Facility that would supply water for the irrigation of golf courses and the city park. Despite those measures, the city still relied heavily on the original wellfield, and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) continued to deny the city a consumptive use permit.
Confronting the need to expand water supply, the city developed a plan that included new potable water supply and treatment infrastructure, the expansion of recycled water treatment and distribution infrastructure, and a stormwater management program.
The city used a $44 million revenue bond to implement the program. SFWMD also provided $400,000 for recycled water projects. With those funds, the city:
installed four new potable wells in the western portion of the city, far from the saltwater interface;
completed a $4 million deep injection well;
constructed a membrane treatment unit to handle up to 20 million gallons of potable water per day;
expanded the existing 2.5 million gallon Recycle Water Treatment facility by 5 million gallons;
installed miles of new recycled water transmission and distribution main;
implemented sanitary sewer repairs to reduce the salinity of recycled water so that potable water does not need to be used for irrigation; and
established miles of stormwater swales, which provide storage, percolation and treatment.
The city also established a new stormwater utility that collects more than $2.4 million per year in user fees that are placed in the utility’s enterprise fund.
Implementing such an extensive plan presented Pompano Beach officials with some challenges. “Reaching consensus among all the regulatory agencies as to what our needs were was the biggest challenge,” says William Flaherty, public works administator. “We overcame it by developing a master plan that was practical and totally comprehensive of all possible water issues having to do with the city — stormwater, reuse water, wastewater, potable water. After we did that, the project came together very easily.”
With the expansions and improvements in place, SFWMD awarded Pompano Beach a consumptive use permit this year. The city expects the improvements to supply sustainable raw water and drought-proof irrigation water well into the 21st century.
The program has brought some recognition to the city, as well. The Florida section of the American Public Works Association recognized the program as an Environmental Project of the Year in 2002.
Agencies/companies involved: Florida Department of Transportation, Tallahassee; Hazen & Sawyer, New York; RJ Sullivan, Pompano Beach, Fla.; South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, Fla.