Advanced Wastewater Treatment: Plantation Pilot Project

Client: City of Plantation
Location: Plantation, FL

In an effort to identify alternative water supplies, the City of Plantation and the South Florida Water Management District entered into a cooperative agreement to evaluate recharging the Biscayne Aquifer with highly treated reclaimed water. As part of this work, Hazen and Sawyer designed and operated the first indirect potable reuse project in the country that focused on surface water discharge and infiltration.

Project Outcomes and Benefits

  • Pilot identified three process schemes capable of meeting the stringent nitrogen and phosphorous limits for aquifer recharge.
  • Pilot also evaluated emerging contaminants removal/destruction and potential ecosystem and receiving water impacts.

Southeast Florida’s primary source of drinking water is the Biscayne Aquifer - a proven source of large quantities of consistent quality. As a result, regional wastewater disposal methods were designed to protect this source, via both deep injection wells and ocean outfalls.

Based on the anticipated effluent limits, several process treatment schemes were evaluated (desk-top level evaluation) as to their potential for meeting the anticipated effluent requirements. The key effluent criteria that drove the process selection were: Total Nitrogen < 1.5 mg/l and Total Phosphorus < 0.02 mg/l.

The pilot testing was completed and it successfully demonstrated that all three process schemes are a viable option for potential full-scale implementation with regard to nutrient removal.

Based on the results, it was evident that chemical and biological nutrient removal technologies alone were not sufficient to meet the stringent nutrient limits and that the use of RO membrane technology is essential for this type of project.

Discharging into the East Holloway Canal, which is part of the Old Plantation Water Control District, has been identified as a potential source of recharging of the Biscayne Aquifer. The work associated with this project included investigating the feasibility of such discharge under a phased approach.

In the first phase, Hazen and Sawyer performed a technical and economical desktop evaluation of the potential process treatment schemes capable of meeting the required effluent water quality. The goal of this evaluation was to identify the most promising process scheme(s) for piloting. We also designed a pilot plant for the selected process scheme and prepared an Operation and Monitoring Plan for the pilot plant.

In the second phase, we secured, installed and operated/monitored the pilot plant with the goal of demonstrating the effectiveness of the process schemes in meeting the desired water quality to be discharged to the EHC.

Three process schemes were selected for piloting and must meet the anticipated effluent requirements, specifically Total Nitrogen < 1.5 mg/L and Total Phosphorous < 0.02 mg/L:

  • MBR Scheme: Primary effluent, membrane bioreactor (MBR), reverse osmosis (RO), and UV disinfection.
  • Conventional Treatment Scheme: Nitrified secondary effluent, denitrification filter, ultrafiltration (UF), RO, and UV disinfection.
  • RO Scheme: Nitrified secondary effluent, UF, RO, and UV disinfection.

A final report summarized the operation and results of the pilot plant, citing that all three process schemes demonstrated the ability to meet the stringent nitrogen and phosphorous limits.

For more information on this project, or to discuss a similar project in your area, contact

Patrick Davis, P.E. at