Our first and most important job as an organization is to provide our customers with clean and safe water. To do this, we draw and treat water from the Peace River located in DeSoto County. From our primary Facility there, we supply about 26 million gallons of water every day to our customers in Charlotte, Desoto, and Sarasota counties, as well as the city of North Port. That’s a lot of water, and Florida is known for having both wet and dry seasons. For this reason, our treatment Facility on the Peace River is surrounded by reservoirs—both traditional above ground reservoirs as well as ASR. Together, these can hold up to 13 billion gallons of water, more than enough to meet our customer’s needs, even during the colder dry months with little rain.
Withdrawing water when the river is running high and storing it in reservoirs protects both the Peace River itself and also its connected estuaries and Charlotte Harbor. We store water, treat it and send it to our member governments.
Since 1991 we’ve been providing quality drinking water to our customers. Learn more about where our water goes on a daily basis and about how we’re working to ensure that we’ll continue in the future.
Reservoirs and ASR
Treatment and Storage
Raw Water Reservoirs
Our Peace River facility can treat up to 51 million gallons of drinking water per day. We currently supply about 26 million gallons daily. To ensure that our member governments have the water they need, we plan ahead. And, together we invest. And, we interconnect to ensure that we can help each other in case of emergency. Just click on the graphic below and get all the details about our treatment and storage system.
Part of making sure that our customers are able to have the water they need year-round is keeping water in reserve. It’s not feasible to withdraw the amounts we need from the Peace River year-round during the dry season without parching the river, and so we withdraw more than we use in a day during the wet season, when the Peace River is running high. The water we take and don’t use during that time is then stored for the dry months. This keeps the water levels in the Peace River appropriate for the season. We store the excess water in two different places. The first are two aboveground reservoirs near the Authority’s water treatment facility on the Peace River. These reservoirs hold raw water, water that has been taken directly from the river, without being processed or filtered. You can find these types of reservoirs at many water treatment plants across the United States. The first reservoir was built in the 1980s and can hold up to 500 million gallons of water. Aboveground, it spans 85-acres. The second, larger reservoir was built much more recently in 2009, and it can hold an impressive 6 billion gallons of water. It covers 640 acres on the surface. These reservoirs work with the treatment facility on the Peace River. Together, they form a type of circuit. Each day, up to 120 million gallons of water move from Peace River through a pipeline to the larger second reservoir. From there, the water travels through an outfall tower to the smaller reservoir, where it is only then brought into the treatment plant proper, where it is becomes ready for consumption.
In addition to our two aboveground reservoirs, we also have a special aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system. This system is special and is what allows us to protect the Peace River and its estuaries beyond most other water treatment facilities in Florida. It provides a massive amount of storage and is what ensures that we will not overdraw the Peace River to meet customer’s needs. An aquifer is a layer of rock below the surface of the ground that holds water. An ASR system injects water directly into those layers of rock to be removed at a later time. Our ASR System has 21 wells spread across two fields. Two different layers of limestone can hold up to 6.3 billion gallons of water. When the Peace River is running high and full, between 5-15 millions gallons of clean drinking water are injected into the ASR from the Authority’s water treatment facility. During dry periods, we can recover between 5-17 million gallons through the reservoirs—leaving the Peace River undisturbed.
Treatment and Water Quality
We use water to clean things, but water must also be cleaned before it becomes safe for drinking. Our water is routinely tested for contaminants, but it also needs to be refreshing and delicious. In addition to maintaining safe system for treating the raw water from the Peace River, the Water Supply Authority won the statewide contest for Best Drinking Water in 2013. At our facility on the Peace River, we use a conventional surface water treatment process that consists of several different steps: Coagulation and Flocculation: We add chemicals to water that help the contaminants within it to stick together. The water is then mixed to make these contaminants stick together even more. As these pieces cling together, they’re easier to remove. Sedimentation: We remove those grouped-together contaminants using a gravity filtering process. Disinfection and Filtration: The water is then disinfected, removing or killing any remaining contaminants or harmful organisms. Finally, the water is filtered. Your water is now ready to drink!
The Authority has a 70-mile piping system to deliver water to member governments. We call it the Regional Integrated Loop. In addition, we have pipelines connected to community facilities that are not part of our member government. In this way, we help provide water security for the entire region. In case of emergency, we can provide water to the system and communities can provide water to one another. Like water supply, we’re continuing to expand our water delivery system.
The first in-progress expansion (which we’ve named Phase 1 Interconnect Project) will provide a direct connection between the Authority’s Peace River Facility in DeSoto County and the City of Punta Gorda Shell Creek Treatment Plant in Charlotte County. We began construction in 2017 and plan to complete the work in 2020. With 6.3 miles of pipeline between the two facilities, the DeSoto County water system will be backed up by our Peace River facility, ensuring water security for the county during times of emergency. With these connections, the Peace River facility will deliver up to 4 million gallons of water per day to Shell Creek and receive 2 million in return. The total budget for this project is $12 million, detailed below:
Phase 3B Expansion
Our second expansion project is called the Phase 3B Loop. These pipes will transport water from the Sarasota County Central Solid Waste Facility and will begin the framework for future pipelines into Sarasota and Manatee County. Part of this project also includes a storage and pumping facility that will help to regulate and control the flow of water. We began construction in 2017 and plan to complete the work in 2020. The total Phase 3B Project Budget is $16.7 million, though this may change according to the permit, land acquisition, and easement cost needs. The breakdown of the funding sources is below:
At the Water Supply Authority, Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota counties and the City of North Port work together to ensure their resources are secure and sustainable.