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Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority moves ahead with PFAS treatment system

  • Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority moves ahead with PFAS treatment system
    A rendering of the J. Robert Dean Water Treatment Plant with new state-of-the-art nanofiltration facility.
  • Authority takes proactive steps to upgrade water treatment facility to reduce PFAS, maintain safe drinking water.

About the entity

Carollo Engineers
For over 90 years, Carollo Engineers has provided a full range of innovative planning, design, and construction management services to meet the water, wastewater, and reuse needs of municipalities, public agencies, private developers.

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) has taken a significant leap forward in its proactive efforts to meet the EPA’s newly established National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for PFAS, often known as “forever chemicals.” The finalized regulation, announced on April 10, 2024, mandates maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for these substances in public water systems, with a compliance deadline set for 2029.

Having consistently adhered to all water quality regulations, FKAA’s Executive Director Greg Veliz expressed confidence in the authority’s proactive measures in a recent press release:

“We have been anticipating these new requirements and have already developed a course of action. Our team is prioritizing this by tackling it head-on and we are going to continue to communicate openly with our customers every step of the way.”

To tackle PFAS levels in its water distribution system, FKAA has allocated $100 million from its Capital Improvement Plan specifically for PFAS mitigation initiatives.

A key component of FKAA’s strategy involves significant upgrades to the J. Robert Dean Water Treatment Plant (WTP) to reduce PFAS levels in accordance with the EPA’s NPDWR. To achieve this, FKAA enlisted Carollo Engineers to lead the project’s first phase, a comprehensive study exploring alternative, cost-effective treatment methods to meet PFAS and future regulatory requirements. The study focused on integrating one or more of three treatment technologies—granular activated carbon, ion exchange, and membrane treatment—into the existing twenty million gallons per day WTP.

With phase two of the project recently underway, Carollo is designing a state-of-the-art nanofiltration facility at the WTP. This facility will feature advanced treatment methods, including sidestream ion exchange or granular activated carbon treatment. The design also includes a new injection well for the disposal of byproduct water from the treatment process.

In addition to designing the advanced treatment system, Carollo will provide construction management services to support the project.

Following a 12-month design phase, construction of the new nanofiltration facility is anticipated to take 30-36 months. This timeline positions FKAA ahead of the EPA’s 2029 compliance deadline.

Carollo Project Manager Lyle Munce commended FKAA’s forward-thinking approach, stating, “We applaud FKAA for being proactive in meeting the EPA’s MCLs and for implementing measures to achieve ongoing compliance with all EPA regulations, current and those anticipated in the future. FKAA’s initiative to address these nationwide issues highlights its dedication to providing safe and clean drinking water for its customers.”

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