North Port's Reclaimed Water Program
North Port’s water supplies are finite; however, our population and need for water resources continue to grow. Water reuse provides a means for conserving and augmenting precious water resources. The State of Florida has established the encouragement and promotion of water reuse as state objectives in Chapters 373 and 403, Florida Statutes and the City of North Port has followed suit in our community by promoting conservation and reuse.
The City’s wastewater treatment plant currently processes City wastewater and turns a portion of that incoming wastewater into reclaimed water that is distributed to local golf courses, residential communities, and City facilities daily. Approximately 20 miles of reclaimed water runs in specially colored purple pipes beneath North Port streets and that number is continuing to grow.
Reclaimed (Reuse) water is wastewater that has received at least secondary treatment and is used for a beneficial purpose, such as irrigation. By offsetting demand for ground water and surface water for irrigation, this alternative, nontraditional water source reduces stress on environmental systems, provides economic benefits by delaying costly water system expansions, and eliminates the need to discharge wastewater effluent to surface waters.
Is Reclaimed Water Safe?
Though the City’s reclaimed water is currently not used in our drinking water supply, it meets over 90% of the criteria for drinking water. This water is clear with no noticeable odor, and is harmless to humans through normal contact. North Port’s reclaimed water has passed all state and federal laws for non-potable use.
For nearly 100 years, highly-treated reclaimed water has safely been used in the United States. Florida has successfully grown to include more than 440 systems that reclaim 659 million gallons of water per day (mgd) — more water than any other state.
Benefits of Reuse
- Costs less than drinking water
- Reduces fertilizer use, as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus remain in the reclaimed water
- Reduces stress on drinking water supplies
- Reduces disposal into water bodies, which can help reduce nutrients in bays and rivers
How City of North Port’s Reclaimed Water Can Be Used
- Irrigation of lawns, landscapes and golf courses
- Street-sweeping operations
- Decorative fountains
- Dust control
- Groundwater recharge
- Cooling or for a variety of industrial processes
- Industrial reuse for vehicle washing
How City of North Port’s Reclaimed Water Can’t Be Used
- Body-contact recreation, including swimming pools and spas
- Cooking or drinking.
- Do not connect house pipes (drinking water) to the reclaimed water (irrigation pipes)
Irrigating Vegetable and Herb Gardens with Reclaimed Water
- Only if a drip or bubbler system is used is it safe to irrigate vegetable and herb gardens (remember to always wash produce, regardless of water source)
- Irrigation of edible crops that can be peeled, skinned or thermally processed before consumption is allowed. All others must be irrigated indirectly.
The Wastewater-to-Reclaimed Water Process
- Screening and other processes to remove sand and debris
- Sedimentation to remove large solids
- Aeration so that microorganisms can break down organic materials
- Clarification to remove microorganisms and any remaining solids
- Filtration to make water crystal clear
- Disinfection with chlorine to kill pathogens and bacteria
- Water reuse facilities are constantly monitored to ensure that only high-quality reclaimed water is distributed. This water is sparkling clear and essentially pathogen-free. Decades of experience have demonstrated that the use of reclaimed water in urban, commercial and agricultural settings is both a safe and reliable source of water.
North Port’s Reclaimed Water Charge
The present reclaimed water charge is $0.55 per 1,000 gallons.
North Port’s Reclaimed Water
In 2008, the City of North Port completed a Water Reuse Master Plan (2008 Plan). This Water Reuse Master Plan served to identify opportunities for the City of North Port to maximize the use of reclaimed water for irrigation and other non-potable water uses within the City’s utilities service area, with the end result of reducing water consumption and groundwater and surface water withdrawals within the region and so assist in managing the region’s overall water resources.
Since that time, the City has been moving forward with implementation of the proposed capital improvements program (CIP) for the Reuse (a.k.a. Reclaimed) water distribution system presented in the 2008 Plan. The City recently completed Reclaimed Water Expansion Phase 3, which includes two reclaimed water main segments along Spring Haven Drive, Pan American Boulevard, and Appomattox Drive.
Phase 3 has significantly improved reclaimed water system hydraulics for existing and new customers, including future connections to the east of Sumter Blvd. Utilities has connected several City parks, roadway medians, developments, and commercial properties to the reclaimed water system. Development in the Heron Creek Commercial Areas, which includes properties in both the southeast and northeast areas of the Price/Sumter intersection, is ongoing with properties connecting to the reclaimed system on Sumter as required per the Utilities Standards and developer’s agreement with the City. This area will continue to be developed over time. To meet these new demands, the Phase 3 looping segments was critical for reliability in this northeast area of the existing reclaimed system.
Interested in finding out more about reclaimed water or how to connect to reclaimed water (Not all areas of North Port have access to reclaimed water)? Give us a call at (941) 240-8000.
|David York Water Reuse of the Year – 2012||WaterReuse Public Education Program of the Year- 2014|