The City’s two wastewater treatment plants treat approximately 5 million gallons of wastewater per day to a very high standard of water quality.
This water is so clean, that it can be used for irrigation and some industrial uses. Plus, it has some nutrients that landscapes need and can cost less than half of the rate for potable water!
Currently, approximately half of the City’s water supply is used for irrigating landscapes. Replacing the use of potable water with reclaimed water for landscape irrigation can conserve and extend the City’s water supply and help keep rates as low as possible. The use of reclaimed water is a priority to the City’s plans for meeting future water demand.
Currently, the majority of the City’s reuse water from Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2 on the north side of town is being used for irrigation. This reuse irrigates Willowbrook Golf Course and the Lake Region Country Club.
A number of parks and cemeteries, including Inman Park, Lakeside Cemetery and Rolling Hills Cemetery receive reuse water for irrigation. The Southwest Florida Water Management District was a cooperating funding agency to get most of this work complete.
Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 is located on the south side of Winter Haven and treats approximately 4 million gallons per day of wastewater, also to reuse quality standards. The City has completed a pumping and storage facility, also with funding from the Southwest Florida Water
Management District, in order to begin using this reuse water for irrigation.
The construction of the transmission mains is being paid solely by the City with no cooperative funds from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and is in the process of design. Currently the majority of this water is discharged to the Peace Creek Canal which flows into the Peace River on its way to Charlotte Harbor, which helps the river meet its minimum flows due to over-pumpage of the aquifer.
The level of treatment received by reclaimed water makes it acceptable for the following uses:
- Irrigating lawns and most landscaping.
- Washing of cars, boats, or heavy equipment. It is recommended that after the use of reclaimed water, vehicles are rinsed with potable water and towel dried to prevent spotting.
- Washing of roofs and buildings as long as the runoff doesn’t flow into surface water such as a pond or stream.
- Use in fountains and decorative pools (they must be clearly marked as containing reclaimed water).
The degree of treatment required for the use of reclaimed water makes it unsuitable for the following purposes:
- Consumption by humans.
- Bathing, cooking or toilet flushing in residential dwellings.
- Any interconnection with another water source.
- Recreational use involving body contact (i.e. swimming pools or outdoor showers).
- Irrigation of vegetables or other edible crops which are not peeled, cooked, or thermally processed before being consumed.