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Water and Wastewater Plant Directory
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Key West, Florida, USA
Key West Richard A. Heyman Environmental Protection Facility
PO Box 4998
Key West, Florida, 33041

Contact Information:
Contact:  Nick LeCoumpte, OMI Operations Supervisor
Email:  webmaster@keywestwastewater.com
Telephone:  305-292-5100

Plant Operation: Municipal

Processing: Wastewater

Web site:

Plant/Process Description:
Key West's wstewater treatment facility and sanitary sewer collection system have been operated and maintained by Operations Management International, Inc. (OMI)since plant startup in 1989.

OMI employs 26 people at its Key West facility, which functions as a City department.

Originally designed as an extended aeration activated sludge plant; modifications were made in 2001 that included an anoxic zone for denitrification, reaeration, and alum addition to precipitate phosphrus in the clarifiers, and fabric disk filters. The facility routinely produces effluent quality well below 5-5-3-1, or AWT standards. Currently, average flows are approximately 4.5 MGD, a reduction from an average 8 MGD three years ago. This reduction in flow was a direct result of the $56 million collection system rehabilitation that began in 1999. Seawater and rainfall inflow that previously entered the system and had to be unnecessarily pumped to the plant no longer occurs. The City has spent more than $67 million over the past 3 years on sewer capital improvements that included rehabilitation of the collection system, construction of two Class I Deep Injection Wells, and upgrading the facility to an Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) facility.

The treatment process begins with two mechanical barscreens for removal of inorganics and large debris like plastics, rags, and other non- biodegradable trash. These screens let wastewater pass through but retain the debris, which is transported to a sanitary landfill on the mainland. The Grit Removal System consists of a centifugal grit settling chamber which collects sand and grit. The slurry of sand and grit is washed and drained, then removed from site with the screenings.

The wastewater then enters one of two aeration basins where oxygen is supplied through the use of platform mounted surface aerators. The mixture of wastewater and bacteria called "Activated Sludge", help to degrade the remaining organics in the water.

The secondary clarifiers allow the "Activated Sludge" to settle out of the purified water. Some of the activated sludge is returned to the aeration basin to repeat the cycle while another portion, called "Waste Activated Sludge" is removed in order to maintain the balance between available food in the wastewater to the mass of bacteria in the aeration basin.

After the purified water leaves the clarifier, a chlorine (Cl2) solution is added as a disinfectant. This kills pathogenic, or disease- causing organisms in the water. The City will soon be eliminating chlorine gas and replacing it with ultra-violet disinfection. After treatment, the water is pumped into one of two deep injection wells that extend 3200 feet below surface and cased through an impermeable "Boulder" Zone that assures there will be no upwelling of effluent. Key West stopped discharging treated effluent to the ocean in September 2001.

The waste activated sludge is stabilized aerobically which means that air forced into the sludge with rotating paddles. This helps provide and environment in which bacteria will thrive. After being mixed with a polymer coagulant, the liquid sludge is run through the belt filter presses which use gravity and pressure to dewater the sludge. The dewatered sludge, called "cake" is transported to a sanitary landfill on the mainland.

In 2005 Key West was presented with the Florida Department of Environmental Protections highest award for Operations Excellence. In 2004 the Florida Rural Water Association awarded OMI and Key West the Earl B. Phelps Operations Excellence Award. OMI and the City of Key West are extemely proud of these accomplishments, and they are a testament of Key West's commitment to protect our environment.

City of Key West
Web site:  http://www.keywestcity.com
Operating Company:
Operations Management International
Web site:  http://www.keywestwastewater.com/
The Key West WWTP is located on Flemming Key just off of the island through Trumbo Point Annex Navy base.

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