The city's Wastewater Treatment Plant 2 is located west of U.S. 1, just south of Matanzas Woods Parkway.
Most people don’t want to think about what goes down the toilet. But a crowd of about 70 people gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the city of Palm Coast’s new Wastewater Treatment Plant 2 on Tuesday, June 5. Tours of the plant, located west of U.S. 1 in northwestern Palm Coast, were given following the ceremony.
City officials and Flagler County representatives were in attendance to listen to speeches from Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, Utility System Manager Danny Ashburn, President of CPH Engineers David Gierach, Senior Project Director of PC Construction Waymon Pardue and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Permitting Program Administrator Thomas Kallemeyn.
“All of these massive towers and mammoth pipes remind me of a movie set, but what you see here is the real deal,” Holland said. “It’s the final treatment destination for everything that is flushed down the drain. When we pull that drain, we just want to flush it and forget it. This new plant ensures that’s exactly what will happen.”
The plant costs close to $30 million, and the city received a .67% interest-loan from FDEP to fund it, according to Palm Coast Communications and Marketing Manager Cindi Lane. Therefore, the facility was built without needing to increase rates for Palm Coast Utility customers. It was designed by CPH Engineers and built by PC Construction.
Located on the same site as Water Treatment Plant 3, the plant, at launch, is treating about 1.5 million gallons of wastewater each day. The original Wastewater Treatment Plant 1 on Utility Drive was built in the early 1970s, and its treatment capacity has been gradually expanded over the years to 6.83 million gallons per day, nearly reaching capacity.
“With our growing population, the amount of wastewater is increasing, and it’s our job to ensure its proper treatment,” Holland said. “With the addition of this plant, we can now treat up to 2 million more gallons per day.”
As part of the project, a reclaimed water main along U.S. 1 and a master pump station in the Matanzas Woods area were also built.
“This plant is classified as an Advanced Wastewater Treatment facility, meaning it produces the highest possible water quality,” Holland said. “Because it removes more nitrogen and phosphorus from the water than our other plant, we can discharge this excess advanced treated water into the nearby wetlands.”
Both of the city’s wastewater plants operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and operators are present on workdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with systems being monitored remotely after hours. There are 39 employees in Wastewater Operations, four being assigned to the new plant.
“Most of all, I’d like to thank my staff,” Ashburn said to the crowd. “Starting up a new plant is very exciting, but it can also be very stressful and high anxiety.”
He added that this plant has been in the works since 2008 when the plans were starting to be designed, but then the downfall in the economy put everything on hold.
“This has been a long, long, long, long time coming for this plant,” Ashburn said.