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AMERICAN Ductile Iron Pipe Protects the Environment in South Florida

Dec 1 , 2010
Customer Stories, Water and Wastewater


Palm Beach County Water Utilities, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Project Summary:

The Lake Region Water Treatment Plant/Pipeline reduced public water supply withdrawals from Lake Okeechobee, a key yet fragile fixture in South Florida’s water management system. Lake Okeechobee covers 730 square miles, drains an area of more than 4,600 square miles and is the second-largest freshwater lake in the continental United States. But the lake’s average level has fallen – a disturbing trend because the lake is not that deep to start with.

Successive hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 damaged the dike around the lake and caused regulators to reduce the lake’s level in 2006 pending repairs. Extended drought further reduced lake levels to historic lows and adversely affected water quality, making treatment difficult.

The $50 million Lake Region Water Treatment Plant allowed three cities to end their reliance on Lake Okeechobee as a water source, providing relief to the lake in drought conditions. The Lake Region facility is located in western Palm Beach County and has a production capacity of 10 million gallons per day. Drawing water from the Upper Floridan aquifer instead of Lake Okeechobee, it serves Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay, eliminating or reducing future withdrawals from the lake by those communities.

In addition to providing cleaner drinking water to 26,000 residents in the Glades region, construction of the new plant decreased demand for water from the Everglades system.

“GlobeTec was happy to partner with AMERICAN to complete this important and environmentally sensitive project ahead of schedule and under budget.”Jorge Fonte, VP at Contractor GlobeTec Construction

Key Players:

The Palm Beach County Water Utilities serves approximately 500,000 residents in unincorporated areas of central and south-central Palm Beach County as well as some communities in the western side of the county.

GlobeTec Construction (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) served as contractor for the pipeline portion of the project. CAS Engineering (Miami) was the engineering firm. On the plant portion, the contractor was Poole and Kent (Miami) and the engineer was CDM (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Ferguson Waterworks (Davie, Fla.) was the distributor.

What They Said:

“There were a couple of reasons we elected to proceed with AMERICAN ductile iron pipe even though the initial cost of HDPE was less. First of all, we like having field flexibility as it relates to the ability to field cut and adjust ductile iron pipe installation so the field crew can negotiate conflicts with unforeseen existing utilities. The flexibility of AMERICAN ductile iron pipe allowed us to make adjustments in an expeditious manner contrasted with the time-consuming process of HDPE field-cut and fusion welding.

“Also, ductile iron pipe installations aren’t dependent on an additional piece of equipment. HDPE requires a fusion-welding machine, which occasionally has a tendency to break down, which results in field-crew downtime. GlobeTec was happy to partner with AMERICAN to complete this important and environmentally sensitive project ahead of schedule and under budget.- Jorge Fonte, vice president at contractor GlobeTec Construction

What They Used:

The Lake Region plant project included 64,000 feet of AMERICAN 16-inch Fastite joint pipe, 2,000 feet of AMERICAN 24-inch Flex-Ring joint pipe and 12,900 feet of 30-inch Flex-Ring joint pipe.

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