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Riviera Beach residents hopeful new water treatment plant will reduce concerns

City considers $150 million investment
Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:09:40-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — The city of Riviera Beach is getting ready to choose a firm to build a new water treatment plant within the next three years.

The selection is taking place during a special utility district meeting Tuesday night.

Long-time Riviera Beach resident Mary Brabham is throwing her support behind the project.

She has a kitchen sink faucet with a water filter attached, but she still reaches for a bottle of water to quench her thirst.

Brabham has lived in Riviera Beach for decades but does not drink the city's tap water.

"I have always felt that it was not safe," Brabham said.

Riviera Beach resident Mary Brabham
Riviera Beach resident Mary Brabham explains why she supports investing in a new water treatment plant.

Over recent years, old reports about low chlorine levels clouded her confidence to consume the water.

"I am ready for a new utility district in this city. We've outgrown that one from the 1960s," Brabham said.

The city's Utility Special District Board of Directors is choosing a firm Tuesday night to design and construct a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant to replace its current antiquated plant that processes water with outdated technology.

The current water treatment plant along Blue Heron Boulevard and President Barack Obama Highway in Riviera Beach was built in 1958. 

The aging facility uses an outdated lime softening method to treat the water, often leaving treated tap water with a harmless odor and discoloration. 

The plant is also consistently challenged in producing desired water quality, mainly due to inoperable equipment that is approaching the end of its functional life and technology limitations.

Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans is familiar with the complaints.

"One of the things we hear from residents is the color of the water," Evans said. "That's more of a nuisance item, [but] when you have technology that is dated, it is hard to address the color of the issue."

Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans discusses new water treatment facility, Nov. 16, 2021
Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans shares how a new treatment plant would improve the water quality for residents.

Evans said the water is currently clean and safe, but points to the cracking and crumbling exterior as a catalyst for Riviera Beach to make the $150 million investment for a new site that will be created within 36 months.

"What we're looking to do is to go to membrane technology, which allows for us to take more particles out of the water and give you a better water quality than you're seeing right now," Evans said.

The new water treatment plant is just one component of the innovative campaigns in Riviera Beach, entitled "Reimagine Riviera Beach."

The city plans to reconstruct facilities that are in desperate need of attention. 

Many of the buildings were built in the 1970s and have not seen any significant improvements since. 

City leaders have taken significant steps this year to address this matter as more people move to Riviera Beach.

"When you build all of these homes and all of these condominiums, people want what? Clean and safe water," Brabhams said.