Today we went to the City of Clearwater Public Works Complex for the 2nd Annual North Pinellas TOP OPS Day. They held competitions in different skill areas but they were all over buy the time we arrived. We got to see some really cool trucks and equipment and even had many people offer to demo their items. These huge vacuum trucks are used to suck up storm water and also when there are pipe breaks and water needs to be removed so crews can enter to repair broken lines.
We learned about Lift Stations and how they operate. We were even shown a app for an employees phone that alerts them when lift stations have issues.
We learned about hydraulics and how this really loud and sharp saw can cut through pipes. The pump in the black barrel can process foreign objects in the water that are up to 3 inches! They used golf balls for the demo. The pipe the man is cutting is a water supply pipe. It is made of metal on the outside and lined with concrete to prevent erosion and rusting.
We drove over to the water treatment facility on 580 in Clearwater for a tour of the Groundwater Replenishment Pilot Plant tour. We had a mostly private tour so we could ask a lot of questions. We learned about the process they are using as a test for solutions to not using our natural resources up so quickly. A plant based on this technology exists in California and two plants are opening in Texas. They basically take already cleaned water that would normally just be pumped out to the bay and take a few extra steps to make it safe to pump down below our aquifers.
We learned about the entire process in this state of the art pilot program.
We learned about Ultrafiltration and how small things actually are that they can remove. We even saw the system do its hourly backwash to clean out the filters.
There is a very smart computer inside the equipment.
I asked a lot of good questions from our tour leader.
We learned about the Reverse Osmosis process and how the micro filters removed even more particulates from the water and the salt.
There are 10 filters in this setup behind the boxes in the below picture.
Next was the Advanced Oxidation Process where they use 240 wave length UV light to break H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) into hydroxyl radicals that attack the final micro particles and sterilize the water.
Finally the Membrane Contactors remove the oxygen.
Once the water is at that state it is pumped below the aquifer and allowed to mix wight he existing water there. It should not erode the minerals in the bedrock and limestone and just peacefully mix with the existing low ground water. This study is meant to prove that these are the things that actually happen.
To sum it up: The study looks at the potential of using purified water to replenish the groundwater supplies. This pilot will look to have more potable drinking water for the future. Amazing how many steps need to be taken to ensure putting the water back into the ground doesn’t harm the aquifer. Kids (and moms) learned a LOT! What an awesome fun free day thanks to our lovely City of Clearwater!
We even took a tour of the grounds of the facility and saw the pump station to the ground and the monitoring stations located around. They add fluoride to the water as an indicator and 2 months later the station over 100 yards away has not detected the fluoride. They estimate it will take about 10 years for the water to travel about a mile.
Lots of science!