A forward-thinking not for profit private utility was in need to keep pace with population growth and seasonal flows in a space-constrained, environmentally sensitive resort environment. Walton County, a coastal resort area in northwestern Florida doubles its population during the spring break and summer seasons. Due to the wide variation in wastewater service demand, Regional Utilities uses a flexible configuration of three wastewater treatment facilities, Point Washington, Sandestin, and Seacrest that are interconnected. This allows Regional Utilities to divert streams from any one plant to the others during maintenance, utility power outages, and seasonal lows or peak-flow periods.
Regional Utilities began a measured march of upgrades in the early 2000s, in line with a boom in high-end resort and residential development. The first phase came in 2003, when the Point Washington Facility took on a $3 million expansion project. The project‘s goal was to upgrade a .75 MGD concrete field-erected conventional treatment plant. Regional Utilities selected Evoqua's DAVCO service team as the construction partner for the upgrade. The project team replaced the original equipment with Evoqua’s 2 MGD OMNIFLO® Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) using Jet Tech technology. "The OMNIFLO SBR proved itself right away," says Ryan Douglass, P.E., Engineering Manager at Regional Utilities. "It was a low capital investment going in, and very quickly we saw that it is low-cost to operate too. When we need to take one of our systems off line during winter, or start one up again the spring, it‘s a simple operation. These reactors are easy to operate and maintain."
The second phase of the program came in 2005. The Sandestin facility, designed to support nearby resort developments, upgraded to a two-tank, 2.0 MGD OMNIFLO SBR system configuration, operating in conjunction with Sandestin‘s existing 2.0 MGD DAVCO™ conventional wastewater treatment plant. The Seacrest facility converted an existing 0.5 MGD OMNIPAC® SBR field-erected treatment system using Jet Tech technology into a digester and installed a new 2.0 MGD OMNIFLO SBR system.
Most recently, in 2015, the Point Washington facility embarked on a Phase 3 project to upgrade its existing 2.0 MGD system to 4.0 MGD.
With the Point Washington project to be completed soon, Regional Utilities will have a state-of-the art treatment system with the performance and flexibility needed to keep pace with the service area‘s aggressive growth as a resort destination. Most important, Regional Utilities‘ OMNIFLO SBR systems will meet potential future nutrient removal limits of 5 ppm BOD, 5 ppm suspended solds, 3 ppm nitrogen, and 1 ppm phosphorus. "Regional Utilities has a responsibility to provide a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment for our customers," says Ryan Douglass. "As we‘ve faced new challenges driven by growth and development, Evoqua’s DAVCO service team has helped us live up to that responsibility, over and over again."