Highlands County Waterworks, Inc. (an Investor Owned Utility) recently completed installing two force draft aeration systems at the Lake Josephine water treatment plant (WTP) and Leisure Lakes WTP to address the high levels of hydrogen sulfide.
The water issues historically experienced in the Highlands County water systems are due to several factors. These issues have existed since the original water utility was first placed into service. The raw water source for Highlands County Waterworks’ water systems contains naturally occurring constituents, such as iron and high levels of sulfides, which at times can cause undesirable color, taste, and odor. Upon acquisition, the Highlands County Waterworks’ WTP utilized Adedge filters to remove elemental sulfur from the well water. This system was installed by the previous owner of the utility before Highlands County Waterworks acquired the utility system. This previous treatment system required oxidation of the hydrogen sulfides by utilizing free chlorine before filtration. Also, to ensure proper treatment, the filters required backwashing to remove the sulfur build-up in the filter media. Unfortunately, this previous treatment system is not the prescribed method of treatment of the level of sulfides in the source water and did not work to remove the sulfide efficiently.
The utility worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and recently installed new water treatment systems for sulfide removal at both treatment plants.
In addition, a new back-up generator was also installed at Leisure Lakes for reliability. These newly operational forced draft aeration systems are now removing the majority of the sulfides contained in the raw water sources. Forced draft aeration with pH adjustments has proven to remove up to 90% of total sulfides. This work has drastically improved the water as the sulfides are now being removed and the water leaving the WTP is clear.