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Building It Right: State-of-the-Art Wastewater Treatment Plant in Escambia County, Fla.

Sep 10 , 2013
Customer Stories, Water and Wastewater


Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), Pensacola, Fla.

Project Summary:

Planning for a new wastewater treatment plant in Pensacola, Fla., had already begun when Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004. But that planning accelerated after Ivan’s Category 3 winds pummeled the area, knocked out operations at the city’s downtown wastewater treatment plant and caused untreated sewage to flow in the streets with Ivan’s storm surge.

ECUA’s response to the hurricane is now the state-of-the-art Central Water Reclamation Facility (CWRF), which began operations in August 2010. The $316 million facility is the largest public works project in the history of Escambia County.

CWRF lies on 2,327 acres roughly 18 miles north of the older Main Street plant. It is designed to handle an average flow of 22.5 million gallons a day (MGD) and peak-hour flows of 49 MGD.

The environmental benefits of the new plant are impressive. Almost all of CWRF’s treated water is being sent to local industries for reuse; solid wastes from CWRF are treated to Class AA standards, sold to other customers and used as a soil supplement. The utility boasts state and global recognitions for water reclamation, including the Sustainable Florida Best Practice Award, presented by the Collins Center for Public Policy, and the Global Water Reuse Project of the Year Award, presented by Global Water Intelligence.

In addition to wastewater treatment, the utility pumps more than 13 billion gallons of potable water annually to more than 90,000 residential and commercial customers, serving a population of more than 200,000 people.

“We knew we had identified what we wanted to use the moment the Flex-Ring system was shown to us.”Ned McMath

What They Used:

AMERICAN’s distributor in Pensacola, Ferguson Waterworks, supplied 101 Series 2500 Resilient Wedge Gate Valves ranging in diameter from 16 to 54 inches. AMERICAN ductile iron pipe comprised the lion’s share of roughly 100,000 feet of 24- to 54-inch transmission mains between the old and new plants.

What They Said:

“We knew we had identified what we wanted to use the moment the Flex-Ring system was shown to us,” said Ned McMath, ECUA deputy executive. Flex-Ring provided ECUA an opportunity to use like materials and have a positive joint restraint system with increased flexibility compared to traditional friction-based joint restraint. Also important was the elimination of traditional bolts-and-nuts joint restraint systems, which can be subject to corrosion and also tend to point load the pipe during installation.

ECUA evaluated several types of forcemain pipe materials before deciding that ductile iron pipe with a 40-mil ceramic epoxy lining provided the best lifecycle value and reliability for this critical element of the project, according to McMath.

Key Players:

The plant design engineer was Baskerville-Donovan, Pensacola, Fla. The transmission line design engineer was Hatch Mott MacDonald, Pensacola, Fla. The general contractor for the project was Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham, Ala.

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