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Inside look at Port St. Lucie water treatment facility

A Port St. Lucie water treatment facility on June 2, 2021.jpg
Posted at 3:29 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 15:29:03-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — With water quality in the news this week, many of you may be wondering how the water you drink gets to your home.

When you turn on the tap, you’re likely not thinking about how the water got to you.

"We’ve got over 130 square miles of service area," said Brad Macek, the director of utility systems for the City of Port St. Lucie. "At the end of the day, if you don’t hear from us, that’s a good thing."

Macek said unlike West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie gets its water supply from two independent sources in the Floridan aquifer.

Water from the shallow aquifer, 80 to 100 feet deep, is treated first at a lime softening facility, where it is pH balanced.

"Just makes the calcium fall out so you have softer water," Macek said.

The second source is much deeper underground, some 1,300 feet deep.

"Very good quality, it just has a lot of chlorides in it. That’s why we have the membrane process so we can treat it," Macek said.

The water from the two sources is combined, filtered, and disinfected so the impurities are squeezed out.

"We go through some five micron cartridge filters similar to what you have in your home under your sink maybe. Only they’re bigger and we have a lot more of them," Macek said.

Both sources are untouched by sunlight, so algae is not an issue.

"It doesn’t exist in our drinking water wells," Macek said

Right now, about 24 million gallons per day are produced for some 82,000 customers. Those numbers are expected to grow.

While Port St. Lucie doesn’t use surface water treatment now, the massive growth in this area is requiring the city to take a hard look and bring one of those treatment facilities online in the next 20 years.

"What we want to do is diversify our water supply," Macek said.

The city bought 5,000 acres of land with a connection to the C23 canal to use as a future water supply and prevent that water from going out to tide.

"We would treat it, store additional water here," Macek said.

To read the 2020 Water Quality Report from Port St. Lucie's Utility Systems Department, click here.