pureALTA uses groundbreaking technology in a potable reuse pilot project that has the
potential to expand the City’s water supply by hundreds of thousands of gallons per day
The City of Altamonte Springs is conducting a pilot project aimed at meeting its future water needs and the challenges brought on by continued growth, shrinking groundwater supplies and the potential of drought.
The project, called pureALTA, is taking reclaimed water and treating it to meet or exceed all drinking water quality standards without using expensive, energy-consuming reverse osmosis. The project is being done in partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District, and is currently in the testing phase through October 2018.
“This past year is a prime example of the impact that drought can have on Florida’s groundwater supply,” said Ed Torres, Director of Public Works and Utilities. “We’re embarking on this project now to explore ways to create additional water supplies in the future, if and when they are needed.”
For pureALTA, the City built a network of advanced water treatment processes: ozonation and biological activated carbon filtration (O3/BAF), ultrafiltration (UF), granular activated carbon filtration (GAC) and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation process (UV AOP). This system of water purification has produced outstanding results during the testing phase.
A handful of other U.S. cities have potable water reuse projects, but most rely on high pressure filtration as the core treatment process of purification, rather than pureALTA’s unique combination of systems which includes biological treatment processes. pureALTA is proving to be less expensive, more energy efficient and doesn’t create the harmful byproducts that some other systems produce.
“We’ve had several experts and engineers from cities and water agencies around the country come and look at pureALTA already,” said Frank Martz, Altamonte Springs City Manager. “They’re interested in how they could adapt this technology to augment their own water supplies. We see the project as not only something that can benefit our residents, but as a model that can be adapted by other utilities throughout Florida as well as the rest of the country.”
The pureALTA project is currently treating approximately 28,000 gallons of water each day. During the study-phase, 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.
Altamonte also built a S.T.E.M. education program named the Altamonte Springs Science Incubator, or AS2I. The City created AS2I to help prepare the next generation of engineering and conservational innovators. Through this program, students will learn about pureALTA, water treatment processes, the impact of drought and the need for diversified water alternatives. Thousands of middle and high school students get hands-on education on how this potable reuse project works and how it can be an important component of Florida’s water supply in the future.
The City of Altamonte Springs has a long history of implementing innovative projects to expand its water portfolio, save water and money and protect the environment. A-FIRST 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 each year. 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. The project, which began in the 1980s, was one of the first projects of its kind and it’s still in use today.
For more on the pureALTA project, please click here.