Florida DEP Banner


CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~Awards presented to 8 South Florida recipients for innovation at both wastewater and drinking water facilities~

PUNTA GORDA – Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Resource Management Deputy Director Chris Klena today presented the 2013 Plant Operations Excellence Awards to South Florida wastewater and drinking water facilities at the annual “Focus On Change” Seminar in Punta Gorda.

“Today’s Plant Excellence Award recipients are prime examples of some of the best water treatment and conservation solutions in the state,” Deputy Director Chris Klena told nearly 300 seminar participants. ”We are proud of the longstanding tradition of excellence and the environmental protection these awards promote.”

The 2013 South Florida Wastewater Treatment Facility winners recognized today were:

·         Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility

·         Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District Treatment Plant

·         Big Coppitt Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant

·         San Carlos Wastewater Treatment Facility

·         City of Layton Key Wastewater Treatment Plant

The 2013 South Florida Drinking Water Facility winners recognized today were:

·         City of Naples Water Treatment Plant

·         Island Water Association

·         Ava Maria Water Treatment Facility

Each year, the Department presents awards to domestic wastewater and drinking water facilities around the state that demonstrate excellence in operation, maintenance, innovative treatment, waste reduction, and pollution prevention, recycling or other special achievements. These awards are presented to recognize facilities that demonstrate a special commitment to excellence in management through dedicated professionalism.

The Department is awarding a total of 22 facilities, including nine domestic wastewater facilities as well as 13 drinking water facilities statewide.  The remaining awards will be presented at district ceremonies during the additional five “Focus On Change” annual seminars to be held in Panama City, Lake City, Tamarac, Haines City and Ocala.

Facilities go through a rigorous judging process, with every aspect of their operation scrutinized. The facility must maintain an impeccable history of recordkeeping compliance. 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 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.

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.

This is the 24th year that the Florida Rural Water Association has presented the “Focus on Change” Seminar in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The sessions are designed to provide the most current regulatory information available to utilities.