The primary function of the City of West Palm Beach sewer collection system is to move wastewater from homes and businesses to the East Central Regional Wastewate Treatment Facility (ECRWWTF). Wastewater comes from daily activities we all do, such as washing dishes, taking a shower, running the washing machine, and of course, flushing the toilet. Anything that goes down a sanitary drain enters the collection system.
A pipe known as a sewer lateral connects the drains from homes and businesses on private property to the collection system. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the sewer lateral, including clogs and overflows, but most people do not give it too much thought unless a problem occurs.
Due to differences in elevations within the City, a number of lift stations are needed to help get the wastewater to the ECRWWTF. Once the wastewater is treated, part of it is injected down six deep wells for final disposal. The deep wells extend into the solid rock layer or Bolder Zone of the earth, approximately 3000 feet below the surface. Disposal of treated effluent in this manner is approved by the State of Florida and the Environmental Protection Agency. The other portion of the water, after treated in an additional Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) process is discharged in the wetlands of the Grassy Waters Preserve and allowed to sheet flow for further filtering. Water from the wetlands recharges the surficial aquifer and a nearby wellfield, where it is recovered and pumped to the M-canal for conveyance to Clear Lake and Mangonia Lake. Water from Clear Lake is then withdrawn by the Water Treatment Plant for potabilization and supplied to over 51, 000 retail and commercial customers as well as as critical medical facilities within the City of West Palm Beach and the Towns of Palm Beach and South Palm Beach. Finished water is delivered to customers by a a distribution system consisting of over 500 miles of pipeline.
Industrial users, such as metal finishers, electroplaters, photo processors, food processors, and dairy processors also generate wastewater, but by law these manufacturers must have pre-treatment processes in place before the flow enters the collection system.
Facts About City of West Palm Beach’s Collection System
- Contains 500 miles of pipeline, including gravity sewers, force mains, and interceptor sewers.
- Treats up to 64 million gallons per day (mgd) of wastewater from home, businesses, and industries.
- Relies on 144 lift stations which pump the wastewater discharged from homes and businesses to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The stations are unmanned and operate automatically as needed.
- Serves about 100,000 residents of West Palm Beach.