Facilities Services commences Wastewater Treatment Improvement Initiatives

Facilities Services is set to begin the first of several construction projects designed to improve the existing equipment that composes the wastewater treatment process on campus. The UF Water Reclamation Facility, which has the capacity to reclaim and treat over 3 million gallons of water daily, is over 25 years old and needs modernization to address deferred maintenance needs and updated environmental regulations. While Facilities Services had several avenues available to navigate the future of operating conditions for this equipment, it was determined that this suite of projects would best position the university for future success in system output and compliance.

The Wastewater department has taken a holistic approach to master planning improvements for the water treatment process which examines each step from the headworks (where water treatment begins at the reclamation facility) to the campus irrigation system that utilizes the water after it has been processed. While doing so they have put an emphasis on identifying smaller initiatives that can be executed in support of the long-term operational goals, paving the way for a nimble project execution process that can lead to large wins in facility performance on a shorter timetable.

“It was important that we zoomed out and evaluated the plant in a holistic way at this juncture in its life-cycle,” stated Jennifer Meisenhelder, Facilities Services Director of Thermal Systems, on the department’s approach towards the improvement program. “We wanted to make rapid improvements to certain areas of treatment that needed immediate attention while still keeping the long-term vision of providing safe, reliable and cost-effective production of reclaimed water for the University’s beneficial use.”

The first of these wastewater treatment initiatives scheduled to begin construction on December 16th will focus on the replacement of components the effluent reuse pump station and reclaimed water booster pump that will provide operational flexibility and decreased energy costs. Future projects will include:

  • Movement to a new, more robust Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) platform for facilities controls and optimizing logic control for resiliency and efficiency ensuring the University remains in compliance with the latest Florida Department of Environmental Protection permits.
  • Updating the Sodium Hypochlorite System allowing production of a higher standard of reclaimed water with less chlorination byproducts and chemical cost savings.
  • Replacing the current filtration system with a new cloth media disk filter system that will be compatible with future proposed improvements in the Water Reclamation Facility masterplan.
  • Clarifier Inlet Valve Replacement to maximize treatment efficiency during periods of low flow and maintenance shutdowns of the treatment process. The new valves will ensure that the UF Water Reclamation Facility maintains the ability to meet treatment parameters in order to deliver the best quality reclaimed water to its customers.

Published: December 15th, 2020

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