In February of 2019, the City of West Palm Beach’s Water Treatment Plant started up the new Ultra-Violet (UV) treatment system that established an additional barrier to ensure the production of safe drinking water. The UV System is designed to control bacteriological contaminants typically found in surface and ground water supplies. Designed to treat up to 50 million gallons of water every day, the UV System becomes part of the overall water treatment process that includes conventional filtration and chemical disinfection. The City provides water to more than 120,000 customers in the City of West Palm Beach, Town of Palm Beach, and Town of South Palm Beach.
“With the commissioning of the UV system, we now have one of the most advanced water treatment systems in the nation,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “We are pleased to be able to bring this incredible technology and infrastructure, resulting in the highest quality water to the residents of the City of West Palm Beach.” The UV treatment system has been meeting the City’s expectations to enhance treatment effectiveness without additional chemicals and provide an additional barrier in the production of safe drinking water.
Housed within massive pipes inside the water treatment plant, the UV system--the largest in the State of Florida-- will provide reliable and cost-effective 100% redundancy in the disinfection process.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified UV disinfection as an effective barrier against bacteria and viruses and one of the best technologies to inactivate pathogenic microorganisms in drinking water. UV light provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms through a physical process. When bacteria, viruses and protozoa are exposed to the germicidal wavelengths of UV light, they are rendered incapable of reproducing and infecting.
As a part of the UV project, the City also constructed a powdered activated carbon contact basin that will provide exceptional drinking water taste and overall quality through a process that is very efficient for removing naturally occurring taste and odor compounds from the plant’s source water. The powdered activated carbon basin will also serve as an effective barrier against algae in the unlikely event that it is ever present in our source water intake in Clear Lake.
The new UV building was designed to preserve the historic character of the plant while incorporating today’s code requirements and the highest efficiency of the plant function, maintenance and operations.
The UV building features original materials such as barrel tile roofs, textured stucco, and cast stone embellishments to maintain the Mediterranean revival architectural style of the water treatment plant. The plant was first built by Henry Flagler in 1901 and was acquired by the City of West Palm Beach from Flagler’s successors in the 1950s.