A new wastewater plant in West Palm Beach, Fla., restores water to nearby wetlands and helps ensure a stable water supply for the area through 2026. Photo: City of West Palm Beach

An innovative new plant in West Palm Beach, Fla., will enable the city to reclaim much of its wastewater for reuse while being kind to the environment.

The facility will reduce the need to draw water from Lake Okeechobee while treating up to 10 mgd and discharge it onto a nearby wetland, achieving two goals: restoring a native habitat and recharging the natural aquifer. Otherwise, the water would be lost to the surface-water system through injection via a deep well into the boulder zone.

The $37.7 million project was funded by grants from the U.S. EPA($10.8 million), the Florida Communities Trust ($2 million), South Florida Water Management District ($1.32 million), and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection ($280,000). The East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility Board donated the land, valued at $10.6 million; other funds came from the city. The project also garnered awards from the Florida Insititute of Consulting Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies.

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