Water Reuse

St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida, is home to the oldest municipal dual distribution system in the United States, and one of the largest in the world.   The system, which supplies potable water through one distribution network and non-potable water through the other, has been in operation since the 1970s.

The City's four water reclamation treatment plants handle more then 40 million gallons of wastewater each day.  When the water enters the plant, it is screened through a bar screen structure to remove large debris and then goes to a grit chamber to allow the sand and grit to settle.  After settling, the water is biologically treated in special aeration basins to allow billions of microorganisms to consume organics in the wastewater.  After biological treatment, the water is filtered through deep bed, dual medial filters and then clarified.  To complete the process, the water is disinfected with chlorine.

The treated eeffluent flows through 260 miles of pipe to more than 10,000 homes and businesses, including 9,340 residential lawns, 51 schools, 86 parks, 6 golf courses, and 11 commercial cooling towers.  Forty million gallons of treated wastewater can be stored onsite; after that, the water is stored 900 feet below the ground in deep well injection.

The public has responded favorably to the water reuse due to the cheaper price tag involved.  The biggest criticism is that only 10% of the city's population can be served by the reuse water.  This is because it takes wastewater from five homeowners to provide enough water for one lawn.

St. Petersburg, Florida Reclaimed Water
McKenzie, C. Wastewater Reuse Conserves Water and Protects Waterways. On Tap. Winter (2005): 46-51.