Water-Related News

Lakeland pilot project aims to meet growing demand for clean drinking water

LAKELAND – As Polk County's population grows, so does the demand for clean drinking water, and an innovative pilot project in Lakeland may be a solution to that problem.

The "Direct Potable Reuse" Pilot Facility, adjacent to the Cherry Hill Water Production Facility off Raulerson Road, treats 14,400 gallons per day of reclaimed water from the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Facility and turns it into drinking water.

"We take the highly treated wastewater and treat it even further to meet all the primary and secondary drinking water standards, plus the standards the Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] is considering," said Tamara Richardson, the director of Polk County Utilities.

It should be noted that water from this pilot isn't currently going into the public water supply, although it could eventually.

"In the meantime, we're putting it back into our reuse system," said County Commissioner George Lindsey. "We currently have a wastewater reuse system that has a separate distribution system available for lawn irrigation and golf courses and open spaces."

This project is developing an alternative water supply for a growing population, therefore decreasing the amount of water pulled from the Upper Floridian aquifer and giving it time to replenish, as it's expected to reach its sustainable limit by 2025.