Delivering approximately 20,000,000 gallons per day of high-quality drinking water to customers in the Florida Keys, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) manages and maintains an exemplary water system that is truly a modern marvel. Home to one of the first low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment systems in the world, the FKAA is now embarking upon major upgrades that will help ensure access to clean drinking water is uninterrupted by the effects of climate change and aging infrastructure.
“Being as proactive as we can is the absolute right course of action when it comes to providing safe drinking water to our customers,” said Greg Veliz, Executive Director of the FKAA. “This work that will begin in Islamorada, will continue for the next two to three decades and be a legacy project that will inspire water utilities across the globe to replicate.”
In late February 2023, work will begin on Islamorada to replace approximately four miles of the original transmission main that’s 60 years old. The old 30-inch ductile water main will be replaced with a new cathodically protected 36-inch steel pipe. Additionally, the mains at the Teatable Relief and Whale Harbor bridge crossings will be installed underwater to isolate them from high winds and storm surges.
“We’re starting with Islamorada because we’re seeing the effects of aggressive soils and subterranean tidal flows that submerge and expose the pipeline to corrosive conditions,” said Mr. Veliz. “After we complete our work in Islamorada, we plan to begin replacing a portion of the Key West transmission line, then Plantation Key, and go from there until the entire 130-mile system is upgraded with new steel pipes.”
The Islamorada Transmission Line Replacement Project will cost approximately $42 million, with $35 million being provided by state and federal grants, and the remaining $7 million being funded through a low interest loan. The FKAA plans to apply for additional grants to help fund future upgrades to the 130-mile system.