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Wastewater Collection

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Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) Wastewater Collection (WWC) is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Wastewater Collection system serving the City of Fort Pierce and sections of unincorporated St. Lucie County. WWC Department has 21 employees which are broken into three areas Administrative, Collection and Lift Station Divisions.

WWC Collection Division serves over 14,700 customers with approximately 180 miles of gravity mains ranging from 8 to 48 inches in diameter. There are also 22 miles of service lines and 5100 manholes to be inspected and maintained. A continual TV/Cleaning program is practiced to clean, vacuum, tele-inspect our collection system gravity mains. Gravity mains and laterals are repaired or replaced in a timely manner to prevent problems and extend the life of the system.

WWC Lift Station Division has 116 Lift Stations, approximately 91 miles of force mains ranging from 4 to 24 inches in Diameter, 104 air releases, and, 504 force main valves. A continual lift station preventative maintenance program is practiced ensuring the lift station components are operating efficiently.

Each lift station collects wastewater from the gravity (flows downhill) collection system and pumps the wastewater through pipes called force mains to the treatment facility. Each lift station has a storage tank called a wet-well that holds the wastewater until it is pumped. If the pumps are not functioning correctly the water level in the wet well rises and triggers an alarm (horn) and a red light.

Domestic Wastewater Facts:

  • In 2005, approximately 64% of Florida's population was served by central sewer systems and treatment facilities. The remainder of the population used on-site sewage treatment and disposal (septic tanks) to treat their wastewater.
  • In 2006, there were approximately 2,100 active domestic wastewater treatment facilities in Florida with a total permitted capacity of 2.4 billion gallons per day. (About one half of this capacity represents non-surface water discharges).
  • In 2006, large facilities (capacities greater than 500,000 gallons per day) treated greater than 96% of the total treated wastewater flow in Florida.
  • Only thirty-two facilities in 2006 (around 1 percent of the total number of facilities) have permitted capacities of 15 million gallons per day or more. However, these facilities represent more than 50% percent of the total permitted wastewater capacity in Florida.
  • About 80% percent of Florida's facilities in 2006 have capacities less than 100,000 gallons per day. These facilities, however, account for only about 2% percent of the total permitted capacity in the state.
  • The number of smaller facilities (also known as package plants) is slowly decreasing as the number and size of regional treatment facilities continues to increase.
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Wastewater Questions:

What is Wastewater? It's also called sewer water and is the water from baths, showers, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines and toilets.

Where does it go? After you flush your toilet or empty your bathtub, the water disappears down your drain and is carried from your home through a network or underground pipes and pumps until it reaches FPUA Water Reclamation Facility.

Does what I put down the drain effect my service? Sewer lines are clogged daily by people who dispose of such things as grease, motor oil, eggshells, coffee grounds, and kitty litter down drains, toilets, garbage disposals, and sewer manholes. Help us keep your plumbing bills, and future rate increases down by observing the following helpful hints:

  • No grease down drains - cooking oils, fats, etc.
  • No motor oils down drains or city storm drains.
  • No egg shells down the disposal or drains - should be disposed of in solid waste bins.
  • No kitty litter down drains - gritty materials sink, causing blockages in the line.
  • No coffee grounds down disposals or drains.

Also remember, it is illegal to dump some products, like anti-freeze, paint and other chemicals into the sewers.

What if I have sewer odor in my house? Run fresh water in all sinks to fill traps inside the house. If this does not cure the problem, check the toilet and make sure it’s firmly attached to the floor, the wax seal around the toilet may be compromised, if this does not work, contact FPUA.

Why is there a manhole in my back yard? The manhole in your backyard is an access point for the sanitary sewer and in most cases cannot be moved.

Wastewater FAQ's:

Sewer Backup

What do I do in the event of a backup? A blockage in the service lateral or mainline will affect drains throughout the entire house. A single drain or toilet may be an isolated problem. If possible locate your cleanout (note: it may be buried or you may not have one) they are generally located a few feet from the house. It will be metal or plastic and is generally 4” in diameter you may also have more than one. In some cases the clean out in at the edge of street or side walk. If a backup should occur to the point of overflow, it is recommended that you remove the clean out cap, depending on the location of the blockage; this may allow the water to spill in the yard rather than in your house. Before calling a plumber call Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) at listed numbers. FPUA will check main line and our service lateral to the customer’s property line. If FPUA’s sewer lines are clear you will be directed to call a plumber. FPUA will identify where the blockage is at no charge to the customer.

Preventative measures you can take to prevent sewer backups:

  • Do not dispose of your household grease in the sinks or toilets.
  • Do not dispose of diapers or other disposable hygiene products in your toilets – (can’t stress this enough).
  • Do not dispose of bones and food scraps if you do not have an appliance to grind them before disposal .
  • Inspect and have your rooftop vents cleaned out by a professional.
  • Place screening over you rooftop vents if you encounter a problem with rodents entering you home through you toilets.

Sewer Odor Complaint

Contact Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) Customer Services Dept. to report odor form interior plumbing, lift station, manhole, or other source.

Sewer Overflows

Contact Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) Service Department to report sewage running down street or swale, bubbling from a manhole, broken pipe or pump/lift station.

Road Depressions/Sinkholes

Contact Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) Customer Services Dept. to report dip in pavement or hole in the street, shoulder or swale. If considered an immediate danger to the public dial 911.

Cleaning and Inspection

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) performs annual cleaning and inspection of designated gravity sewer lines each year. This is preventive maintenance designed to minimize service interruptions and to identify potential problems in the early stages. FPUA uses both in-house personnel and subcontractors to perform this valuable service. From time to time the cleaning process will force water in the toilet bowl to be expelled. Should an expulsion occur, please contact our Customer Services Department immediately.

Maintenance and Construction

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) performs many repairs and improvements to the sewer system each year. The scope of work can range from a minor service repair to the replacement of a sewer main extending for city blocks. Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) uses both in-house personnel and subcontractors to perform this work. Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) will do everything possible to minimize any inconvenience.