Public Works (Water Division & Utilities Maintenance Division)
The Highland Beach Public Works Department is staffed by eleven (11) full-time employees. The Department consists of a Public Works Director, a Water Plant Superintendent and five Water Plant Operators. We also have our own Maintenance Department consisting of a Utility Maintenance Superintendent, a Utility Foreman, and a Utility Mechanic.
The Public Works Director and Water Plant Superintendent works Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The Town's R.O Water Treatment Plant is operated 24 hours per day, 7 days a week with at least one operator per shift. The Utility Maintenance Superintendent, Utility Foreman and Utility Mechanic work Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
All employees of the Public Works Department are on 24 hour call. The water plant operators not only operates the Water Plant, they also monitor the Town's distribution and sewage collection systems. In the event that the Town has an emergency such as a water main break, a power outage or sewage backups, the water plant operators notify the Utility Maintenance Superintendent who then decides whether or not additional help is needed to make the repair.
The Water Plant Operators run tests on the water each hour to make sure the Water Plant is operating correctly. They take calls in the Master Control Room and respond to customer complaints. Our Maintenance Department maintains the Town Hall, the Water Plant, the Fire Station, the Police Station and the Library. They make repairs to the water distribution and sewage collection system as needed. They also maintain the Town's side streets as well as the storm drainage system.
Water Treatment Plant Information
The Town of Highland Beach follows the Watering Restrictions set forth by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Year-Round Irrigation Rule. The current watering schedule is as follows:
Normal Watering Schedule
Residents and businesses with odd-numbered street addresses may water lawns and landscapes on Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Saturdays only before 10 AM or after 4 PM.
Residents and businesses with even-numbered street addresses, no street address or irrigate both even and odd address within the same zones including multi-family unites and homeowners associations, may water may water lawns and landscapes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and/or Sundays only before 10 AM or after 4 PM.
For the most efficient use of water, residents should avoid irrigating during both time periods on the same day.
New Landscaping, Sod, or Other Plantings
New landscaping can be watered without regard to restrictions on the first day it is installed.
Landscaping that has been in place from 30 days or less can be watered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and/or Sundays during the hours allowed for regular landscape irrigation.
Landscaping that has been in place from 31 days to 90 days can be watered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and/or Saturdays during the hours allowed for regular landscape irrigation.
Additional watering days can only be used to benefit new landscaping. An entire irrigation system zone may only be watered if it contains at least 50 percent new landscaping.
The Town of Highland Beach urges all water users to follow the good practices of water conservation set by the South Florida Water Management District. 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.
Exclusions to the SFWMD Year-Round Rule
The use of low-volume irrigation methods – including micro-irrigation, container watering and hand-watering with a hose (with an automatic shut-off nozzle) – is allowed anytime.
The use of reclaimed water and harvested rainwater for irrigation purposes is allowed anytime.
The rule applies only to water used for landscape irrigation. There are no restrictions on other outdoor uses such as pressure cleaning or vehicle/boat washing, although voluntary, water-conserving practices are highly recommended.
For more water conservation tips, please be sure to visit the South Florida Water Management District website @ www.sfwmd.gov/mywateringdays
Ensuring the Highest Quality of Water
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 one micron cartridge filters then is pumped through a series of membranes using 300 horse power pumps that force the water through the membranes at 350 pounds per square inch (psi). A small amount of sulfuric acid is added to lower the pH and a small amount of anti-scalant is added. Both are used to protect the membranes from building up solids on the membrane surface that would result in clogging.
High quality lime slurry along with carbon dioxide is added to increase the hardness from 15mg/L to 50 mg/L and alkalinity from 10 mg/L to 40 mg/L. Liquid bleach is added for disinfection and a small amount of phosphate is added as a corrosion inhibitor to help protect the pipes in the distribution system. The end result is that Highland Beach residents enjoy very pure water that is crystal clear.
Contaminants in Water
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
Annual Water Quality Report
The Town of Highland Beach sends out a Water Quality Report every year. Publication of these reports allows us the opportunity to keep the residents informed about the excellent water services we have provided 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 Town of Highland Beach is confident that the reverse osmosis water treatment plant will supply our residents with safe, economical, reliable drinking 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 third Tuesday at 1:30 pm of each month at Town Hall, 3614 S. Ocean Boulevard.
If you have any questions or concerns about the information contained in the water quality reports, or would like to learn more about your water utility, please call Pat Roman, Public Works Director, or Dave Ailstock, Water Plant Superintendent, at (561) 243-2084.