Ensuring the Highest Quality of Water
The Town of Highland Beach, including all of its water utility customers, is not being impacted by the January 15, 2008 water restrictions imposed by the Board of Governors of the South Florida Water Management District. The Highland Beach public water supply system relies on the very deep Floridan Aquifer as its source of raw water. The restrictions have been imposed by the District on all other water users that draw their water either from surface sources or from the much shallower Biscayne Aquifer.
Drawing raw water from the Floridan Aquifer and then treating it with a process known as reverse osmosis is a much more expensive method of providing high quality drinking water. It is, however, a much more stable source of raw water. Not having the restrictions placed on customers of the Highland Beach public water supply system is clearly one of the benefits of having such a system- despite the higher cost of treating this source of water.
Even though the Town of Highland Beach is not under the District’s watering restrictions, the Town is urging all water users to follow the good practices of water conservation set by the South Florida Water Management District. Although the Town will not be enforcing the watering restrictions, we encourage users to continue conserving water.
The Town of Highland Beach does suggest that irrigation be limited to the hours of 4:00 am until 8:00 am twice per week, and only 15 minutes per zone, especially during the winter months when many types of vegetation and landscaping will go dormant, and have less of a need for continuous irrigation. For more water conservation tips, please be sure to visit the South Florida Water Management District website.
Court Order PDF Document
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.
All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk
More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800)-426-4791. MCLs are set at very stringent levels. A person would have to drink 2 liters of water every day at the MCL level for a lifetime to have a one-in-a million chance of having the described health effect.
In our continuing efforts to maintain a safe and dependable water supply, it may be necessary to make improvements in your water system. The costs of these improvements may be reflected in the rate structure. The FDEP conducted a statewide assessment of public drinking water systems in 2004. This system was not assessed at that time because it was not yet operational.
Some Are More Vulnerable to Contaminants
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections.
These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available for the State Drinking Water Hot Line (800) 426-4791.
How Our Water is Treated
Highland Beach’s water plant uses the process of reverse osmosis to treat our water. The water plant utilizes the Floridan aquifer, and draws water from wells that are 1,200 feet deep. Although the water is very pristine, it is high in salinity (salt content).
To remove the salinity and other impurities, the raw well water passes through a series of membranes (filters). The system uses 300 horse power pumps that force the water through the membranes at very high pressures, in excess of 350 pounds per square inch (psi). An anti-scalant is used in order to protect the membranes from a build up of solids that would result in clogging, and phosphate is used as a corrosion inhibitor as protection for the piping.
Before the finished water enters the distribution system, acid and sodium hydroxide are added for pH adjustment, and chlorine is used as a disinfectant.
The end result is that Highland Beach residents enjoy very pure water that is crystal clear.
Contaminants in Water
Annual Quality Water Report
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
- Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
- Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming.
- Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
- Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
- Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production
The Town of Highland Beach is pleased to present the following Water Quality Reports. Publication of these reports allows us the opportunity to keep you informed about the excellent water services we have delivered over the past year. Our goal has always been to provide our residents with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. The source of Highland Beach’s drinking water is wells drawn from the Floridan Aquifer. In October 2004, the Town’s new Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant went on-line, and became the sole source of our treated drinking water.
The most significant difference that residents may have noticed at the tap since we began using the reverse osmosis process is the disappearance of the “yellowish” color – our water is now crystal clear. Also, our water is now “softer”. In fact, the hardness (mineral content) has been reduced by approximately 90%. Lastly, our total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) have been reduced by approximately 90%.
Our method of water treatment utilizes chlorine as a disinfectant. The water is now so pure that a slight chlorine residual may be more noticeable than it has been in the past. The Town is now adding calcium to the water, which further improves the taste. The Town of Highland Beach is confident that the new reverse osmosis water plant will supply our residents with safe, reliable water, meeting all regulations, for many years in the future. We want our valued customers to be informed about their water utility. Residents are encouraged to attend Town Commission meetings, which are held on the first and last Tuesday of each month at Town Hall, 3614 S. Ocean Boulevard.
If you have any questions or concerns about the information contained in these reports, or would like to learn more about your water utility, please call Edward Soper, Public Works Director, or Dave Ailstock, Water Plant Superintendent, at (561) 243-2084.
Previous Annual Reports