Throughout the year we will highlight various reuse facilities and programs of our WateReuse Florida members. Our first member highlight is the The City of Pompano Beach’s Our Alternative Supply Irrigation System – or OASIS for short.
The City of Pompano Beach (City) has been using reuse water for irrigation for 24 years. More than 10 billion gallons of water from the Biscayne Aquifer has been conserved. This reduction in water withdrawals has resulted in a reversal of the saltwater encroachment upon the well fields and protects the aquifer.
This past year, the City has implemented progressive and innovative approaches to further conservation efforts and promote customer participation.
The first approach was to incentivize single-family residential connections to Pompano’s reuse system, OASIS. After listening to customers, the “I Can Water” campaign was created to eliminate connection barriers and educate residential customers about reuse. This program connects new residential customers with no out of pocket costs or hassles. A contractor works with local plumbers to perform the private side customer connections. The City owns and maintains the backflow preventers. The City even developed a hose bibb box for customers without in-ground irrigation. In less than one year, connections increased from 73 to more than 400 homes, resulting in water savings of 46 million gallons per year.
A new technological advancement in tertiary filtration was implemented to reduce reject water production by 90 percent, along with a 90 percent reduction in filter backwash energy use. The retrofit of Parkson’s new EcoWash system to our filters provides 15 to 25 percent better filtrate quality and yields annual savings of nearly $135,000.
These efforts have resulted in a productive and more efficient year for OASIS, creating a new model for customer connections and new operational efficiencies.
The City of Pompano Beach, a pioneer in reclamation efforts in Broward County, first considered the use of alternate sources of water as far back as 1979. The City along with other southeastern communities was facing increasing demands on potable water supplies due to rapid development. Saltwater intrusion into the eastern edges of the Biscayne Aquifer, motivated the undertaking of several studies. These studies identified the potential for the use of reclaimed water for irrigation of the City’s green spaces, consisting of approximately 400 acres of municipally owned golf course, ball fields and parks. At the time, 2.5 million gallons per day (mgd) of irrigation came from four shallow wells in close proximity to the City’s eastern well field. These studies indicated that the use of reuse for irrigation in this area would not only conserve that same gallon for gallon amount of potable water but might also have the benefit of the abatement of salt water intrusion.
About the Plant
In 1989 the original plant was constructed with a 2 million-gallon ground storage tank and a 2.5 mgd design flow rating. This was expanded in 2002 to 7.5 mgd design flow rating with expansion capabilities of up to 12.5 mgd. The site presently consists of: two filter structures; associated pumps; chlorine contact basin; two reuse water ground storage tanks (6 mg capacity); two dedicated distribution systems (high pressure system for the golf course and a low pressure system for irrigation of parks, medians, and residential customers); and a continuously monitoring SCADA system with telemetry to the Water Treatment Plant for monitoring and control functions.
With no city owned wastewater facility, the Reuse Plant takes in a portion of the treated wastewater effluent from Broward County Regional Wastewater Facility destined for ocean outfall disposal. This effluent is diverted from the Atlantic Ocean outfall (assisting with recent legislative mandates to eliminate ocean outfall) and is further treated to improve its quality via filtration and disinfection. Currently 1.7 mgd is delivered for irrigation use, resulting in a comparable savings of potable water (10 percent daily reduction in potable water demand).
Initially in 1988, the reuse plant was to serve only the municipal golf course, Four Fields Ball Park and medians along Federal Highway and Copans Road. Over the years the service area expanded to the Pompano Airpark, medians further north on Federal Highway into the town of Lighthouse Point and finally to limited residential sections of the city.
This past year, the City of Pompano Beach has strived to further their commitment to implement innovative reuse technologies and improve operational efficiency by partnering with Parkson Corporation on pilot testing and then implementing the first retrofit installation of Parkson’s new EcoWash technology for their DynaSand filters in the country.
This project converted the original continuously backwashing filters to an intermittent backwash operation. This significantly reduced the amount of filter reject water by 90 percent, saving on disposal costs, while improving filtrate quality 15 to 25 percent. This technology also saves a significant amount in energy costs by decreasing the plant air compressor runtime (for operation of the filter airlifts) from continuous to a shorter period of time each hour.
After a successful 10 month pilot program the savings were proven to be too substantial to ignore and then realized when the remaining DynaSand filters were retrofitted and placed online. After the first six months, the performance of the EcoWash system is expected to save 42.8 million gallons per year of filter reject which results in a savings of $118,556 in retreatment costs. In conjunction with the energy savings of reducing the plant air compressor runtime to about six minutes per hour of filter operation, nearly $135,000 per year in total operating costs savings are expected.
As a result of Pompano Beach’s continued commitment to innovative approaches to improve efficiency and develop new connection programs to promote the use of reuse as an alternative water supply, the Reuse Facility is poised to meet the demands of providing environmental stewardship, resource sustainability and climate change preparedness.
In addition, Pompano Beach Utilities is completing replacement of all potable water and reuse meters with an Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI). The meters are read by radio from fixed base collectors that transmit the data to the customer service department. The program has improved customer service by being able to report the customer’s usage by the hour, alerting the Utility when there is constant flow (customer leaks) and/or any backflow. Soon there will be a website modification where a customer can go online to see their usage. This technology not only helps to detect backflows and leaks and conserve water, it also saves energy (fuel) and reduces staffing.
Our Alternative Supply Irrigation System – OASIS
Currently, the City has more than 26 miles of distribution lines and a growing customer base. The City Code of Ordinances requires that all new residential communities must have dedicated reuse piping in place and all commercial accounts must hook up to the reuse distribution system when it becomes available in their area.
With the implementation of the residential reuse program, new programs had to be developed and initiated to provide customer education. OASIS was born. A contest was held for residents to create a logo and slogan for the City’s Reuse program. The winning slogan was “Making It Clean And Turning It Green.” This first introduced the public to the many benefits of reuse. The City’s other reuse informational efforts included: distribution of public education materials such as the Reuse Consumer Confidence Report; playing a reuse informational video; providing the public information via the City reuse web page located on the City website www.mypompanobeach.org; providing signage in irrigated areas; and conducting Reuse Facility tours to promote the benefits and importance of reuse.
When the City first expanded availability to residential customers a special assessment program was originally instituted to assist single-family residents with the cost for the hook up to the reuse distribution system. The reception was less than anticipated. The potential customers said some of the hurdles hindering residential connections included poor public perception of reuse; the connection process and dealing with a contractor; upfront costs; and having to pay for the annual backflow inspections and fees.
Birth of the “I Can Water” Program
Pompano listened to their customers and instituted an innovative marketing program combined with competitive pricing and increased customer service to target potential customers in their reuse service area. Through Pompano’s OASIS program the “I Can Water” campaign was launched to educate and attract more residents to participate in this conservation practice. Under this program the City now offers to connect new residential customers at no upfront cost to the customer, where reuse is available. The City works with a contractor who enlists local licensed plumbers to install a new backflow device and make the connection to the customer’s irrigation system. They even take care of permitting. The City also provides, inspects and maintains the backflow device, relieving the customer of all associated costs.
For existing customers, the City installs and maintains a new backflow device, replacing the existing one, at no upfront cost and the annual backflow inspections and fees are eliminated. They also remain at the lower base rate (58 cents per 1,000 gallons) for being pioneers of Pompano’s residential reuse distribution system.
The base usage rate for new customers was increased slightly to accommodate the new customer’s hassle free, no up-front cost to connect. The rate for their usage is 85 cents per 1,000 gallons, much lower than the lowest rate for potable water ($2.24 per 1,000 gallons). The response to this program has been impressive, with more than 415 new account requests during the past year.