Administration provides oversight to the entire Public Utilities Department. The Director and Assistant Directors establish policies and procedures and oversees their implementation, working closely with the division managers ensuring the successful operation of the department. The administration staff supports the Director as well as all divisions of the department, maintain the website and serve as a liaison between all of Public Utilities divisions and Human Resources for personnel related issues.
Included in the Administration division are Fiscal Services, Public Utilities Engineering, SCADA and the Environmental Management System.
- Fiscal Services: Assists the department in meeting its commitments for operations, maintenance, and modernization through the creation of a five year Capital Improvement Plan; scheduling and conducting bond sales, and by budgeting and managing the dispersion of funds to allocate projects and ongoing operations.
- Public Utilities Engineering: The engineering group manages utility rehabilitation projects and Capital Improvement Projects. This is accomplished by proactive and collaborative planning and coordination with Operation & Maintenance Divisions and other City Departments from the planning phase through construction of utility projects.
- Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA): The SCADA system is a computerized control system that can automatically start and stop pumps, open and close valves, display temperatures and pressures, monitor water quality, generate reports, and much more. Thousands of bits of control data are available at the fingertips of the SCADA operator. This consolidation of process information provides tighter quality control than previously available.
- Environmental Management System: The Department maintains an Environmental Management System (EMS) to reduce environmental impacts through continual improvement of daily operations. Learn more about the Public Utilities Environmental Management System.
The Watershed Management division is responsible for ensuring that the Grassy Waters Preserve, the City's main source of drinking water, continues to meet both human and ecological freshwater needs for generations to come. Division duties include:
- Invasive species mitigation
- Promoting best management practices in water quality and conservation
- Operational maintenance to pump stations and control structures throughout the watershed
- Water quality and compliance monitoring, in coordination with the Laboratory Services division, to ensure the long-term health of the City’s water supply.
Check out the Grassy Waters Preserve Nature Center for more information and to find out about upcoming educational programs.
The City's Water Treatment Plant is a conventional lime softening facility which is permitted to produce up to 47 million gallons of potable water per day. The Water Treatment Plant draws water from East Clear Lake, where the water is then treated and potable water is supplied to over 34,000 retail and commercial customers as well as critical medical facilities within the City of West Palm Beach and the Towns of Palm Beach and South Palm Beach.
- Customer Service: Responsible for getting water to our customers through billing for residential and commercial water, sewage and stormwater services. They also handle customer connections and disconnects.
- Field Customer Service Meter Shop: Maintains water meters in top condition through repairs, testing and pressure investigation. They're also responsible for backflow prevention and cross connection control to protect the distribution system from back-pressure.
- Central Operations Dispatch: Dispatch is a 24 hour operation that provides emergency response to Public Utilities, Public Works, Parks and more. They also answer and direct calls to the Mayor's Hotline to ensure citizen's concerns and questions are forwarded to the right person.
The Water Distribution division is responsible for the maintenance of water mains, water valves, and fire hydrants. This ensures uninterrupted water service to residential and commercial customers as well as fire protection services.
The water distribution system is the essential link between the water supply source and the consumer. Located within the City’s service area are over 569 square miles of pressurized water mains. There are five field crews who perform day to day operations on this system, these crews include: a Construction Crew, Refurbishment and Repair Crew, Fire Hydrant Crew, Valve Crew, and Locator and Leak Detection Crew.
They have personnel on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year, and are always ready to address an emergency that may occur.
The mission of Laboratory Services division is to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data generated from analyses conducted on the City’s potable drinking water system and processed water that is discharged to the environment.The division provides the City with expertise in field sampling as well as cost effective and reliable chemical and microbiological analytical services. There are two operational laboratories in the department providing operational support to the drinking Water Treatment Plant and the East Central Region Wastewater Reclamation Facility (wastewater plant). Both labs are NELAC (National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference) certified.
Each laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical equipment that provides accurate results based on EPA approved methods. Special care is taken to ensure that the City of West Palm Beach’s water meets all federal and state, health and environmental standards.
The Industrial Pretreatment compliance specialists are responsible for administration of the National Pretreatment Program for permitted industrial users that discharge wastewater into the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility (ECR). This compliance protects the ECR from indsutrial pollutants which can harm the plant and impact the wastewater treatment process. The National Pretreatment Program, which began in 1972 under the Clean Water Act, is a cooperative effort of federal, state and local environmental agencies.
This division also include compliance specialists who monitor Food Service Establishments (FSE's) to protect the sanitary collection system from the harmful effects of Fats, Oils & Grease.
The Pumping Operations division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the 127 lift stations throughout the City. These lift stations help pump the wastewater discharged from homes and businesses to the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility for treatment.
The lift stations are unmanned and operate automatically as needed. Because of this, an intensive Preventive Maintenance Program is in place to ensure that equipment failure will not occur. Backup electric generators are installed at larger stations, and the City maintains a fleet of mobile units for the smaller stations. In addition, the City has invested in state of the art remote monitoring and control systems that keeps employees in touch with real time conditions at each station. The Utilities Pumping Operations Division also maintains an “on call” crew to provide emergency service for 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Have you ever thought about what happens after you wash your dishes and flush your toilets? The City maintains a series of over 500 miles of underground sanitary sewer pipes that carry wastewater from homes and businesses to the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility (ECRWRF).
The Sanitary Collections divisions is responsible for performing preventative and corrective maintenance on the collection system to keep wastewater flowing. Some of their duties include:
- Smoke Testing- Crews periodically perform smoke testing to locate sources of sewer odors, leaks and breaks in sewer lines.
- Condition Assessment Program- This program identifies the condition of sewer assets and allows us to prioritize rehabilitation projects to improve the collection system.
Once sanitary wastes are collected from homes and businesses, they are routed to the East Central Regional (ECR) Water Reclamation Facility for treatment.
The East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility provides wastewater treatment for:
- the City of West Palm Beach
- the City of Lake Worth Beach
- the City of Riviera Beach
- the Town of Palm Beach
- portions of Palm Beach County
The ECR is funded and governed by a board comprised of a representative member from each of the entities it serves. The ECR 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.
This plant, which is permitted to process 70 million gallons of wastewater per day, removes contaminants from the wastewater using a series of aerobic digestion basins. The wastewater treatment process produces two by-products- effluent, a chemically and micro-biologically treated water, and bio-solids- the nutrient rich organic materials left over from the treatment process. A portion of the plant's effluent is further treated to provide reclaim water services. The rest of the effluent is disposed of through deep well injection.
The City has a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). This means that stormwater and wastewater are collected in separate sewer systems.
The Stormwater Operations & Canals Maintenance division are responsible for capturing and conveying drainage runoff to canals, cleaning and inspecting stormwater drains to remove trash and pollutants and they also monitor and respond to illicit discharges into waterways. Our stormwater drainage system also provides flood protection by allowing rain to flow properly during rain events, reducing risk to our citizens and their property. Stormwater employees are trained in the day to day operations of the storm system as well in the equipment operation and must obtain a level “C” Stormwater operator certification and a CDL License.
The discharge of pollutants and debris to the stormwater system can have direct impacts on local environmental and public health. Learn more about stormwater and how you can help protect the environment.
To submit a stormwater maintenance request, please call 561-822-2210.