Managing the Challenges of Ground Water Rule Compliance in South Florida

Last Modified: Jun 22, 2011


  • Monique L. Durand, P.E., Janeen M. Wietgrefe, P.E., and Geoffrey K. Hart, P.E. - Hazen and Sawyer

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This article presents four case studies to demonstrate challenges faced by utilities in South Florida on their path to compliance with the requirements of the final Ground Water Rule (GWR) and Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 62-550.828. Case studies include the city of Fort Lauderdale’s Peele-Dixie Water Treatment Plant, the city of Hallandale Beach Water Treatment Plant, the city of Plantation East and Central Water Treatment Plants, and the city of Naples Water Treatment Plant.

Achieving GWR compliance in South Florida presented unique challenges to utilities. The extent and impact of these challenges varied considerably, based on the existing type of treatment process technology, the mode of plant operation, the residual disinfectant employed, and the size and layout of existing production and treatment facilities. The case studies presented highlight distinctive solutions to the challenges of the GWR.

Key issues faced by the Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Plantation, and Naples plants included:

  • Selecting between the use of chlorine versus chloramine disinfectant to achieve required disinfection credit for four-log virus treatment.
  • Achieving disinfectant credit while coping with the naturally occurring background ammonia in the product water.
  • Identifying feasible locations for injecting chemical disinfectant into the treatment process to achieve the necessary contact time to achieve four-log virus treatment disinfection credit, while simultaneously minimizing any potential negative water quality impacts.
  • Controlling the financial costs associated with implementing modifications to the treatment process in order to achieve the required contact time for four-log virus treatment disinfection credit.
  • Modifying existing and/or integrating new control systems and programming to achieve the necessary compliance monitoring required for four-log virus treatment.
  • Achieving disinfection credit for four-log virus treatment by using only the portion of the treatment process that is not exposed to the atmosphere.
  • Avoiding potential negative publicity associated with Tier 1 public notifications as a result of non-compliance with the requirements of triggered source water monitoring, assessment source water monitoring, and assessment finished water monitoring.
  • Conducting membrane integrity monitoring and testing required for four-log virus removal credit using NF treatment technology.
  • Conducting required source water and finished water monitoring and sampling in a timely, cost-effective manner.

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