This Is our Village

Monday, January 28, 2013


Hi all,
Following is my response to new Blogger Vinny's question. when the wind is just right, this plant which is just 5,322 feet North of us, will make it's presence known: Welcome Vinny, good question!!

East Central Regional Water Reclamation FacilityPost Office Box 3506
est Palm Beach, Florida, 33402-3506
Contact Information:
Contact: Joseph Carlini
Telephone: 561-822-1300

Plant Operation: Municipal
Processing: Wastewater
Web site:
Plant/Process Description:
The East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility (ECRWRF) is funded and governed by a board comprised of the representatives of the entities served by that facility, namely: the City of West Palm Beach, the City of Lake Worth, the City of Riviera Beach, the Town of Palm Beach, and Palm Beach County. 

Mission: To operate and maintain the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility in a cost effective, reliable, and safe manner, which meets all State and Federal permits and regulations. 

Operations: The ECRWRF is licensed to function under specific guidelines by the State of Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plant is operated by Florida licensed Wastewater Plant Operators. 

Capacity The ECRWRF is currently permitted to process 55 million gallons of wastewater per day (MGD). That capacity will be increased to 70 MGD with the completion of an expansion project currently underway. 

Water Reclamation Process

Wastewater entering a treatment plant is referred to as the INFLUENT.
Influent consists of water, organic materials from toilets and kitchen disposals, and inorganic material such as sediment and industrial chemicals.

BIOLOGICAL OXYGEN DEMAND (BOD) is a measure of the organic pollution present in wastewater. BOD is the amount of oxygen needed by bacteria to break down organic material. Influent has a high BOD because of the levels of organic wastes in the water. Bacteria utilize this organic material as a source of food. In the process of dissolving the organic substances, much of the oxygen from the water is consumed. When the organic material (and the BOD) in the wastewater is removed, the environmental impact of the effluent is greatly reduced.

Our facility is designed to remove as much of the waste from the influent as possible so that the treated water (EFFLUENT) will have minimal impact on the environment when it is returned. 

Influent: Wastewater generated by residential users, businesses and industry is transported to the Water Reclamation Facility via underground piping throughout the city and county. 

Septage Receiving: The ECRWRF also operates a septage receiving station at the facility. Septage is best described as a mixture of sludge, fatty materials, human waste, and wastewater removed during the pumping of an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system, such as a septage tank or portable toilets. All septic waste received by the facility is pumped into the plant Headworks for treatment with the influent wastewater. 

Septage Receiving Station

Preliminary Treatment: Influent enters the facility at the Headworks where it flows through a bar screen to remove rags, sticks and similar large debris and then though a pair of grit chambers where sand, gravel and similar materials, collectively referred to as grit, are removed. 

Activated Sludge Process: The ECRWRF uses the activated sludge process to treat wastewater. This is a treatment in which wastewater and biological sludge (microorganisms) are mixed and aerated. The activated sludge process relies on creating a mixture of microorganisms that consume organic waste material in the wastewater. The biological solids are then separated from the treated wastewater in clarifiers and returned to the aeration process as needed. 

Influent wastewater flows from the Headworks to the Aeration Basins where air from high volume blowers is forced into the bottom of the basin thru ceramic diffusers. The high volumes of forced air creates an environment where microorganisms thrive by devouring solids and waste. The air also suspends and mixes the bacteria and organic material so they are more readily consumed. 

Clarifiers: Activated sludge from the aeration basins flow into the plant's eight clarification tanks. Control manifolds regulate the flow from the basins into each of the clarifiers. 

The Clarifiers serve to settle the suspended solids in the effluent. This water/solids separation is performed by gravity. The majority of the bacteria rich solids from the bottom of the clarifiers are returned to the aeration basin to support and sustain the growth of microorganisms, with a small portion of the solids being "wasted" to the aerobic digester. The water in the clarifier tank then flows to the effluent pump station. 

Effluent Pumping & Disposal: The wastewater, now termed EFFLUENT, is pumped down one of six deep wells for final disposal. The deeps wells extend into the solid rock layer or Bolder Zone of the earth, approximately three thousand feet below the surface. Disposal of treated effluent in this manner is approved by the State of Florida and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Aerobic Digester: The "wasted" bacteria from the clarifiers are pumped into the Aerobic Digestion basin. Here the bacteria sludge is aerated without the addition of a new food (BOD) source, other than the sludge itself. This causes the bacteria to digest the material in their own cells, and other dead cells. The result of this digestion is a more stable material that does not produce nuisance odors, and is more suitable for dewatering. 

Dewatering Operation: Sludge from the Aerobic Digester is pumped to the Dewatering Building. A polymer solution is added to the liquid sludge to thicken it prior to processing in the plant's five belt filter presses. The belt filter presses utilize separate gravity and compression zones to drain and squeeze the water from the sludge. With careful monitoring and adjusting, it is possible to produce a sludge cake that is 15 to 18 percent solid material. 
City of West Palm Beach
Web site:
Operating Company:
City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities
Web site:

Dave Israel

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