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~Statewide recognition for innovation at both wastewater and drinking water facilities~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Water Division announced the winners of the 2012 Plant Operations Excellence Award. The Department is awarding seven domestic wastewater facilities as well as 13 drinking water facilities, recognizing the hard work and dedication of these facilities as examples that represent the best water treatment and conservation solutions the state has to offer.

The award program judges three size categories within each plant type: facilities that serve less than 3,300 customers; facilities that serve from 3,300 to 50,000 customers; and facilities that serve greater than 50,000 customers. The competition is statewide, all participants apply at their own discretion and there is no guarantee of any winners due to lack of applications.

Facilities go through a rigorous judging process, with every aspect of their operation scrutinized. The facility must maintain an impeccable history of recordkeeping and submission to the Department. Facility activities, such as malfunctions, maintenance or upgrades must all be documented and demonstrable to Department environmental specialists during unannounced inspection visits throughout the year. Facility upkeep is paramount, as well as making sure facility personnel have all of the proper, up-to-date certifications and training on the latest water monitoring rules and techniques.

Wastewater facilities also have the opportunity to provide evidence of innovative solutions to water conservation problems, suggest improvements to the maintenance process, or highlight unique areas in which they may excel.

The 2012 Wastewater winners are:

  • Military Point Advanced Wastewater Plant (Panama City)
  • City of Winter Park Estate Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Bonita Springs Utilities East Water Reclamation Facility
  • Richard A. Heyman Environmental Pollution Control Facility (Key West)
  • City of Marathon Area 5 Wastewater Treatment System
  • Northlake Estates RV Park  (Moore Haven)
  • City of Dunedin Wastewater Treatment Facility

Drinking water facilities are required to have a spotless record of monthly bacteriological reports, having at no point breached upper limits of any potential contaminants. In addition, each facility must keep constant record of the number of days and length of hours spent at the facility. Drinking water plants are also afforded the opportunity to display areas of expertise and innovation, such as alternating flow patterns to allow storage tanks to be cleaned and inspected more frequently.

The 2012 Drinking Water winners are:

  • City of Ocala Water Treatment Plant
  • South Martin Regional Utility, North Water Treatment Facility
  • Tampa Bay Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant
  • North County Regional Water Treatment Plant (Naples)
  • Destin Water Users, Inc.
  • Bay County Water Treatment Plant
  • Tropical Farms Water Treatment Plant (Stuart)
  • Naval Air Station, Whiting Field (Milton)
  • Elgin Air Force Base, Duke Field (Ft. Walton Beach)
  • Charlotte County Utilities
  • City of Clermont East Water System
  • City of Leesburg, Royal Highlands
  • City of Palm Coast Water System

The awards ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Bob Martinez Center in Tallahassee.