Water, Water Everywhere But .....
Environmental Permitting Summer School
July 15 -16,1997
Marco Island Resort Marco Island, FL
ALTERNATIVE WATER SUPPLIES; ISSUES AND OBSTACLES
Purified Water for Indirect Potable Reuse by Dale Twachtmann, Senior Consultant
Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan, Inc.
In recent years, as more competition for conventional groundwater supplies has increased, some
water managements districts have advocated -- quite appropriately -- that public utilities thoroughly
evaluate the use of "alternative sources". In the Southwest Florida Water Management District the
main four being considered are:
1. Reclaimed water for irrigation
2. Purified water (treatment beyond reclaimed) for domestic use
3. Reclaimed (or other) treated water for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR)
then domestic or irrigation use
4. Desalinized sea water for domestic use
Because these four are also relevant to a statewide discussion, today we will address the issues and
obstacles of implementing them. I will begin the discussion by addressing one of the most
interesting and challenging -- the idea of taking water that has already been through a wastewater
treatment system and returning it to drinking water -- in the same regional ecosystems. This project
is the Tampa Water Resource Recovery Project. It has now finally come to be a real project -- after
being thought about for 25 years and seriously studied for the past 10 years -- because the
competition for water between public supply and the natural systems in the Tampa Bay area has now
gained the attention of the whole state.
Most everyone has heard about the millions of dollars spent by two governmental bodies suing each
other (the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority -- the wholesale supply authority for
Pinellas, Hillsborourgh and Pasco counties -- and the Southwest Florida Water Management District)
due to the District's decision to cut back the Authority's groundwater pumping from wellfields in
Pasco and Hillsborough counties. The District concluded the pumping was causing serious damage
to lakes and wetlands and the Authority retaliated because it was duty bound to meet the water needs
of its member utilities which serve several million people. This is the second major occurrence in
Florida that pits the domestic water needs of people against that of the natural systems -- the other
being the lower east coast and the Everglades -- but we can be sure that these two will not be the last.
FILE: TRWFLOW SCALE: 1:1 06/17, 1997 at 16:03 *13_c4.
SUPPLEMENTAL WATER TREATMENT PLANT
TAMPA WATER RESOURCE
produce the outstanding Net Ecosystem Benefits that prove the worth of the Ecosystem
Team Permitting concept? -- Positive impact on groundwater levels, lakes, wetlands?
6. What are the effects on the water quality of the Tampa Bypass Canal when the high
quality water from the STP is placed in it? -- Negative impact on receiving water?
7. What are the optimal pipeline locations to get the water from Hooker's Point to the
Tampa Bypass Canal? -- Lowest cost route without impacts to wetlands?
Obviously, there are many subsidiary issues related to each of these, but these are getting the
attention as the project implementation begins. So, what are the obstacles to the project?
At this time nearly everyone working on the project believes that public acceptance is at the top of
the list -- even though public acceptance of reclaimed water has been outstanding throughout Florida
for the past several years. It seems it is a very large psychological step for people to move from
using the water for irrigation to using it for potable supply -- regardless of the extra levels of
treatment. The fact that most public supplies throughout the United States that come from major
river surface water include large quantities that have been through the wastewater treatment
facilities of upstream communities does not seem to matter. The using public seems to want the
psychological disconnect that comes from dilution. Thus, a key element of this project is the concept
of putting this water in the Tampa Bypass Canal and have it be extracted from the Canal or from well
fields adjacent to the Canal -- even though it is conceded that the product of the STP will be cleaner
than the water that presently exists in the Tampa Bypass Canal.
The public is also already paranoid about the quality of its drinking water, as shown by the enormous
popularity of bottled water throughout the United States. This was heightened in 1996 by the debate
in Congress about the revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the national press coverage
about the alleged poor quality of drinking water in the United States, even though no one would
dispute that it is the best in the world. And, the public also has a curious dichotomy in concern about
the price of the bottled water compared to that of the typical public supply. Today $1.50 for a gallon
of bottled water is acceptable, but $1.50 for 1000 gallons from a public utility will produce angry
citizens at city council meetings throughout the country.
There is also a new drinking water quality issue in the last few years because of two new
occurrences. One was the serious public health consequences from an outbreak of waterborne
disease following the discovery of the microscopic parasite cryptosporidium in the water supply of
the City of Milwaukee in 1992. The other is the creation of a new category of persons with health
risks now generally known as the immuno-compromised. This group contains Aids, chemotherapy
and organ transplant patients.
This is a serious matter and it brings up the public policy question about whether or not public water
supplies should be required to treat to standards that would protect these special categories of user.
Since simply bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute or drinking distilled water makes the
water safe for these users it is not considered practical. Nevertheless, the public's worries about
these matters are probably reflected in public opinion surveys in the Tampa Bay area that rated
purified water significantly below desalted water in acceptability for a new source of supply.
For the majority of citizens, the key obstacle will likely be cost. Although the true costs of this
project and of desalination are much debated, with advocates of each stating assuredly that it will
be lower than has previously been thought, it is certain that water that must be manufactured is not
going to be as cheap as the high quality groundwater that we have been removing from the aquifer
at essentially no cost except that of pumping it out of the aquifer and into town. But, as a rough
guide, assuming the present groundwater sources result in a cost to the homeowner of about $1.25
per 1000 gallons, then the purified water may be in the range of $2.50 and desalted water, because
of its technology's large electrical demand, would be perhaps $3.50. For the average homeowner
who uses, say 10,000 gallons per month, this will be an increase of $12.50 to $22.50 each month --
and that will definitely be a political problem in rate setting.
Both of these key issues will affect Permittability. At the beginning of the implementation project
work we saw permitting as a serious obstacle, but since the decision was made to do the Ecosystem
Team Permitting there is real excitement about what it can accomplish. The Ecosystem Team
Permitting process itself will consider not only public acceptance and technical and environmental
situations, but the cost of construction for both the water treatment works and the Net Ecosystem
Benefit works. So, for the first time regulators are being involved in cost considerations and the
owners are involved in deciding regulatory restraints. It also is already becoming clear that the open
forum being used in the Ecosystem Team Permitting process (which would not have happened in
conventional permitting) and the extensive public acceptance program being carried out by the City
of Tampa will definitely decide whether the project goes forward or not.
Most certainly, the Tampa Bay area and some other portions of Florida are using more water than
is being recharged into the ground or available in our streams. We are facing the truism that surface
water recharge is essential to the replenishment of groundwater supplies -- and since we are not
doing that -- the use of some form of alternative water supplies is going to be a necessity. The day
is rapidly coming when all alternatives will look good and cost will be less an obstacle than it is
Course: Alternative Water Supplies: Issues and Obstacles
Presenter: Mimi A. Drew, Director, Division of Water Facilities,
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Subject: Reverse Osmosis/Membrane Technology
This presentation will provide an overview of Reverse Osmosis and other forms
of membrane technology use in Florida, as well as some of the critical issues in
applying the technology and regulating it. The following areas will be covered:
General discussion of topic:
* A discussion of water consumption in Florida
* Sources of drinking water in Florida
* What is meant by reverse osmosis, or membrane technology?
* How does it work?
* Why is it necessary?
Water supply factors
Water demand factors
Environmental and political factors
* How many facilities in Florida are currently using it?
* Water quality problems associated with concentrate discharge
* Options for resolving water quality problems
Treatment and discharge alternatives
* Department activities/policies on R/O issues
Cowur Atativer Water Supples: Isum and Obtacles
Prentw r MWmi A. Drw. Doctor, Divisi of Waer Factilm orida Deparment of Environmena Protecton
Subject RIeve Osmel- mbrbmfne TdchnWogy
* Small facility legislation, 1997
Small facility benefits
* Future needs
* Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan and grant possibilities
Conclusion and Future Concerns:
Water supply and demand reconsidered
AQUIFER ENHANCEMENT AND THE
UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL PROGRAM
Thomas M. Missimer
Charles W. Walker
Missimer Intemational, Inc.
8140 College Parkway, Suite 202
Fort Myers, FL 33919
The Florida Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) is written to be specifically
applicable to the hydrogeology of the state and consistent with the federal UIC program.
The intent of the program is to assure that injection into aquifers shall not adversely
interfere with any existing or potential groundwater use or cause violations of water quality
Recent water management concepts and technologies have mandated UIC rule changes
in order to allow their implementation. The Florida Department of Environmental
Protection (FDEP), who administers the state UIC program, has recently spent a
considerable effort in revising regulations to allow the innovative groundwater programs
that are in the public interest and yet will not present a danger to the public health, safety
or welfare. The majority of the new concepts and technologies utilize Class V injection
wells as an integral part of hydrogeologic enhancement systems. This class of injection
wells is further subdivided into 8 groups based primarily on the source of the injected
water. Examples of Class V wells include Group 2 Aquifer Recharge Wells, Group 3 -
Domestic Wastewater Wells, Group 7 Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells, and Group
8 Other Class V Wells, such as used in experimental technologies.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery
Probably the best known recent technology utilizes Group 7 wells to provide seasonal
storage and subsequent recovery of water is "aquifer storage and recovery." Aquifer
storage and recovery (ASR) is simply using the groundwater system as a naturally-
occurring, giant storage tank. Water is pumped into the tank during periods when high
quality water is running off the land (wet season) and the water is later recovered for use
during dry periods.
ASR is currently used by a number of potable water-supply utilities to help meet peak day
demand and to save both capital and operational costs (Bloetscher, et al., 1995a). Larger
scale use of ASR is proposed for seasonal storage of surface waters, but many technical
and regulatory problems have yet to be resolved for this use of the technology.
Today, there are 25 operational aquifer storage and recovery sites in the United States
with many located in Florida (Report on the Technical Advisory Committee to the
Govemor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, May, 1996). ASR is also used
in a number of other countries, including England, the Netherlands, Israel, and Australia.
The 6 operational ASR facilities in Florida are treated water storage and recovery
applications used to help meet peak potable water demand and for drought protection.
In most cases, the recovery percentage of the treated water is quite high after a sufficient
quantity of water is initially stored to allow flushing of the aquifer storage zone. Most of
these systems are operated by pumping treated water into one or more wells tapping a
saline-water aquifer and recovering it when it is needed. The recovered water is
chlorinated, blended with treated water, and pumped into the distribution system. ASR
is a proven economic benefit to potable water supply systems, especially those with a
high peak day to average day demand ratio. At the present time, there are about 8
additional ASR systems in Florida under design or construction.
There are a number of potential future uses of ASR in Florida. These potential ASR uses
involve the storage and recovery of surface water or even highly treated domestic
wastewater. Potential benefits of future ASR applications include: 1) the ability to
capture and store excess surface water and groundwater and recover it when needed,
2) water storage at volumes comparable to other storage alternatives, 3) the potential for
large cost savings, 4) enhancement of regional storage management in areas, such as
Lake Okeechobee, 5) substantially increase system storage for regional water
management areas and perhaps for agriculture, and 6) the possible phasing of storage
to meet incremental water requirements.
ASR has not been applied to untreated surface-water storage applications in Florida
primarily because of regulatory constraints and technical uncertainties. The technical
issues include an evaluation of the necessity for pre-treatment of the pumped water,
including both filtration and disinfection, compatibility between the injected water and the
native water, and an evaluation of the quantity and quality of recovered water. All of
these technical factors influence the cost of ASR and ultimately its financial feasibility.
A major constraint is solvable if the Florida UIC rules would be modified to evaluate
compliance to federal water quality standards in the return flow from the wellhead and not
in the inflow stream at the wellhead. If this change were to be adopted, the state injection
well rules would still be in conformance to the federal rules and aquifers would still have
a very high degree of protection against contamination and still could be used in the
greatest public interest.
Aquifer Reclamation and/or Maintenance
Aquifer reclamation is a technique where large quantities of higher quality water are
injected into an aquifer that has been contaminated. The best application of this is
injection of freshwater into aquifer zones that have been contaminated by saltwater. The
freshwater then serves to stabilize the salinity line, or force it to retreat toward the source
(typically the ocean). This technique has not been utilized to a great extent, but has wide
applicability in coastal areas of Florida. If the freshwater source is highly treated domestic
wastewater, the injection well would be classified as a Group 3 well, but if the source is
something else, such as stormwater, the injection well would be a Group 2 well.
The South Florida Water Management District, environmental groups and other regulatory
agencies have identified the need to address the problem of insufficient water storage,
excessive water withdrawals, and the resulting saltwater intrusion in the Biscayne Aquifer
along the lower East Coast of South Florida. These forces encourage saltwater to move
inland with time, threatening coastal wellfields and supplies as well as creating the
potential for ecosystem damage. In addition, canals allow inland movement of saltwater,
as do reduced aquifer pressures caused by loss of recharge areas that causes disruption
of the naturally occurring lateral flow along the coast.
One proposed solution (Bloetscher, et al., 1995b) is to inject highly treated wastewater
effluent, meeting drinking water standards, into the Biscayne Aquifer along the coast
where the saltwater intrusion has occurred, thereby establishing a barrier to its future
inland migration. This solution was suggested in the "County-wide Reuse Feasibility
Study for Broward County, Florida," which recommended that a pilot program to inject
treated wastewater into the Biscayne Aquifer to retard saltwater migration be initiated.
The City of Hollywood has initiated a pilot aquifer injection program. The intent of the
project is to set forth the issues involved with a program to inject treated wastewater
effluent into an aquifer that has been intruded with saltwater to demonstrate the viability
of maintaining fresh water supplies through reclamation, preventing saltwater intrusion,
and maintaining hydraulic head on the fresh-water source. Regulatory issues may be the
biggest obstacles to implementation of wide-scale programs of aquifer reclamation,
because the operational history for such systems is limited and current regulations
regarding groundwater injection and storage are highly restrictive with regard to water
chemistry and control of waste injection.
Artificial Aquifer Creation
Artificial aquifer creation is a concept similar to both aquifer storage and aquifer
reclamation, using concepts of each. The intent is to inject large quantities of treated
water into an aquifer zone that is either devoid of water or that displaces lower quality
water, for retrieval downgradient. This concept has applicability in areas where natural
aquifers may no longer exist because of water quality degradation, but where cavities or
strata may allow for storage of a certain volume of water. The quantity may however, be
Aquifer recharge, which is like aquifer reclamation, is intended to cause recharge of water
supplies into a wellfield zone, similar to that of the Everglades Water Conservation areas.
In this case, an area is flooded so that a driving head is created to push water into the
aquifer, where it is pumped via wellfields many miles away. Aquifer recharge systems
may also be applied to brackish water-supply zones that tend to degrade over time, by
injecting higher quality waters beneath the withdrawal zone, to prevent upcoming of higher
salinity water. This is especially important where saline water is used for reverse osmosis
supply and the cost to retrofit pumps and membranes is high.
Significant conceptual and technical advances in groundwater resource management
have been made in the recent past. Many of these advances require injecting water of
one quality into an aquifer of a different water quality. The injection systems are
regulated by the FDEP UIC rules, which have been recently revised to help resolve some
of the new regulatory issues. In order to proceed with these innovative projects, potential
public benefits must be clearly stated. Adverse affects must not be allowed to
compromise public health and safety. Rules can be modified as technical issues are
resolved to allow regulators to have some flexibility in decision-making.
Bloetscher, F., C. W. Walker, W. K. Martin, and V. C. Vaughn, 1995a, Water Resources
Management Planning for Collier County, Florida, Water Resources Journal, Vol.
47, No. 10, p. 35-39.
Bloetscher, F., C. W. Walker, P. A. Davis, J. G. Monson, W. K. Martin, and P. J. Vinci,
1995b, Wastewater effluent reuse to protect surficial drinking water supplies:
Florida Environmental Expo, Tampa.
Technical Advisory Committee, Goveror's Commission for a Sustainable South
Florida, 1996, Aquifer Storage and Recovery: Potential water storage alternatives
for South Florida, 30 pp.