The FPUA Island Water Reclamation Facility is a 10 million gallon a day facility that treats the areas wastewater and discharges the treated effluent, into a deep injection well which is 3000+ feet deep, into the ground. The flows coming into the facility come from residential (homes), commercial (restaurants and other businesses), and industry (manufacturing, juicing, car washes, etc.). All the flow is brought to the facility via 116 lift stations which pump the wastewater using a series of gravity and force main sewers.
The wastewater coming into the plant contains debris and other materials that need to be removed before it flows into the process. The debris that is removed consists of grit, rags, grease balls, medicine bottles, and just about anything else that can be flushed down the toilet. The removal of this debris is achieved by using a mechanical bar screen and grit classifiers. All the flow goes through a continuously-moving bar screen where the rags and larger debris are caught and then conveyed into a dumpster. The flow then travels through a structure called a Pistagrit, which is a large bowl where the sand and grit settle out and is pumped to a dumpster.
The influent then flows into the Aeration tanks and is treated using a biological process known as Activated Sludge. The Activated Sludge process uses microorganisms to remove the wastes that are in the water. These microorganisms use the waste compounds as an energy source and multiply (split) about every twenty minutes. Air is introduced into the tanks containing the wastewater and Activated Sludge in order to provide respiration for the microorganisms and mixing/contact for the waste and microorganisms.
After a sufficient amount of time, the Activated Sludge flows into another set of tanks called Clarifiers. In these tanks, where there is no mixing, the microorganisms form a blanket, interlocking with each other, and settle to the bottom of the tank. The microorganisms are then pumped back to the head of the plant to start the process all over again. The clear, treated effluent in the top 80-90% of the tank, then flows out of the top of the tank and to another set of tanks where chlorine is added for disinfection. After the chorine has had sufficient time to disinfect the effluent, it is pumped down a Deep Injection Well, below the aquifer, into the boulder zone 3000 feet below the surface.
As a result of the microorganisms feeding on the waste and continuously multiplying, there is a need to remove a certain percentage of these microorganisms on a daily basis so the system doesn’t get overwhelmed. This is referred to as Wasting. The wasted sludge is sent to a proprietary process where it is disinfected using a Chlorine Dioxide feed and then de-watered using a centrifuge. This leaves a mostly-dried “cake” which is hauled off site and land-applied or composted.
Industrial Pretreatment (IP) which regulates Industrial Users (IU)’s that discharges or has the ability to discharge non-domestic waste into the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) wastewater system. UI’s are required to complete a wastewater discharge permit application for IPP. If permitted these customers are regulated through the IPP as dictated by EPA and DEP. These permits have monitoring, sampling and reporting requirements along with inspections that are performed by IPP as required. This is done to remove chemicals and debris before entering the wastewater system that could potentially be harmful to the wastewater system, water reclamation facility, employees, the public and the environment. An annual permit charge is billed to customer’s utility account.
Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) regulates the Commercial Users (CU)’s that discharges or has the ability to discharge non-domestic waste into the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) wastewater system. CU’s are regulated by requiring the customer to install an interceptor or trap depending on the facility. Food service facilities require grease interceptors or traps, laundry facilities require lint interceptors, auto/mechanic facilities require oil/water separators and truck and car wash facilities require sand water separators. These facilities are inspected semi-annually, quarterly or monthly depending on inspection history. This is done to remove FOG before entering the wastewater system that could potentially be damaging to the wastewater system, and harmful to the environment. An inspection charge is billed to customer’s utility account.
Soon a third program will be added to IPP. That will be the Dental Industrial User (DIU). The projected date for adoption by EPA is June 2016. This program will require all dentists to be permitted per EPA and DEP requirements. They will have to install filters on each examination chair, and there will be monitoring and reporting requirements along with inspections that are performed by IPP per requirements. This is done to keep Mercury and other harmful metals that were used in fillings from getting into the waterways and the environment. An annual permit charge will be billed to customer’s utility account.