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The City of Altamonte Springs’ pureALTA project was named the 2017 WateReuse Innovative Project of the Year at the 32nd Annual WateReuse Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is the nation’s preeminent conference on water reuse. The award itself recognizes new, innovative solutions for expanding the use of recycled water and the creation of future models that advocate the implementation of water reclamation nationwide.

“Diversifying our community’s water portfolio was one of the City’s main motivations in creating pureALTA,” said Ed Torres, Director of Public Works and Utilities. “This project could help the City meet the future water needs of our residents, while also becoming a model for other utilities around the country and the world.”

The pureALTA pilot project takes reclaimed water and treats it to meet or exceed all drinking water quality standards without using expensive, energy-consuming reverse osmosis. The City built a unique network of four advanced water treatment processes:

  • Ozonation and biological activated carbon filtration (O3/BAF)
  • Ultrafiltration (UF)
  • Granular activated carbon filtration (GAC)
  • Ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation process (UV AOP)

This system of water purification has produced outstanding results during the testing phase, as it treats approximately 28,000 gallons of water each day. The purified water is returned to the City’s reclaimed water system where it is used for irrigation. Based on the final results of the pilot project, the City could build a full-scale system with the potential to create 300,000 to 500,000 gallons of purified water daily; that’s about 5 percent of the City’s future daily water demand - without drawing it from the aquifer.

Thanks to the grant provided by the St. Johns River Water Management District, the pureALTA project was launched and exceeded all expectations.

“We may be a smaller city, but our philosophy has always been to think outside the box when it comes to meeting the needs of our residents and to conserve our natural resources,” said Frank Martz, Altamonte Springs City Manager. “We are extremely proud of the hard work and committed efforts from our city staff and honored to accept this prestigious award.”

Martz added the City has hosted several visits from other cities and water agencies looking for ways to adapt similar systems for their own communities. The testing phase will continue through October 2018.

pureALTA is just the latest in the City’s efforts to develop innovative projects to expand its water portfolio. The City’s A-FIRST project is a stormwater management initiative that generates as much as 4.5 million gallons of reclaimed water daily, which is approximately 1.6 billion gallons of alternative water supply annually. The project utilizes runoff as a water resource instead of just filling up retention ponds without using its water. The City also developed Project APRICOT, which delivers reclaimed water to almost every property in the city for lawn, landscape and other non-drinking purposes, rather than using drinking water. Project APRICOT, which began in the 1980s, was one of the first projects of its kind and is still in use today.