CITY OF PALM COAST
OFFICE OF THE CITY MANAGER
NEWS RELEASE/PUBLIC NOTICE
Contact: Jim Hogan
Utility Systems Manager
City of Palm Coast
PALM COAST TOP OPS TEAM : MOST WINS OF ALL TEAMS EVER
The wins for this team have been adding up for years and they are now more triumphant than ever! The City of Palm Coast's Public Works/Utility Division TOP OPS team will bring home still another first place trophy this week, their fourth as grand prizes winners in the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) 2011 National Competition. This honor marks the fourth time the TOP OPS 'Water Buoys' have taken first place, adding to their two-second place and one-third place finishes over the past years.
Aside from so many National honors, Palm Coast TOP OPS team members Fred Greiner (Captain), Tom Martens, Peter Roussell and Jim Hogan (Coach) are proud to add seven consecutive Florida Champonships to their list of national awards. With the grand total of fourteen total National and State victories, the Palm Coast team is now the most successful TOP OPS team in the history of the competition.
"Our hard work, dedication and perseverance have truly paid off," says Jim Hogan, Coach and long-time member of the TOP OPS team. "Aside from bringing prominence to Palm Coast, these honors elevate our expertise as operators and assure our citizens that we are knowledgeable about every aspect of the water business. This shows that our entire operations staff is among the best in country. I am extremely proud of this teams' accomplishments."
The American Water Works Association TOP-OPS competitions bring utility department teams together from across Florida and the United States to answer questions on a broad range of topics including science, chemistry, hydraulics, water distribution, public health, sanitation, plant operation, maintenance and process control. The contests promote excellence and professionalism in all aspects of water operations.
The 2011 national competition was held on June 13th and 14th at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition in Washington, D.C. For more information, please contact Jim Hogan, Utility Systems Manager for the City of Palm Coast at 386-986-2374.
# # #
The City of Palm Coast / Utility Department owns and operates three water treatment plants in Palm Coast. The Palm Coast plants utilize the following processes; lime softening, filtration, chloramination, corrosion control, and membrane softening - nanofiltration.
Like most Florida communities, Palm Coast depends upon groundwater for its water source. The withdrawal of water is accomplished by forty production wells pumping from the surficial aquifer and seven from the Floridian Aquifer.
Water Treatment Plant #1 utilizes the conventional lime softening and filtration along with the application of aluminum chlorhydrate, to treat the water. The process includes chemical application of calcium oxide to the raw water to convert hardness causing minerals, especially calcium bicarbonate, to calcium carbonate precipitate. Aluminum Chlorhydrate is also applied to reduce turbidity and color prior to the clarification process, which follows the settling process. Disinfection follows, using sodium hypochlorite and ammonia to produce chloramines. This is accomplished through a carefully monitored chemical feed process. The water is then filtered through an anthracite and sand media that polishes the final product. Post treatment includes the addition of ortho-phosphate in an effort to minimize corrosion of pipes within the distribution system and customer plumbing.
The plant has five high service pumps, three rated at 1000 gallons per minute and two rated at a capacity of 2000 gallons per minute each. The larger pumps are equipped with variable frequency drives for controlling pressure and flow output. In the event of a total power outage, an industrial diesel engine is set up and coupled to a pump which operates automatically if a low distribution pressure condition arises.
The plant is also equipped with an emergency generator. If the power fails, the generator will automatically start and is able to provide continuous power to all equipment. When power is restored to the site, the system will continue to operate without interruption, and the generator will shut down.
Water Treatment Plant #2 is served by wells that withdraw water from the Floridan aquifer and utilizes a reverse osmosis type process called nano-filtration or membrane softening that softens the water. The facility has 4 treatment modules called skids that are rated at 1.2 million gallons per day each . The facility bypasses raw water at up to 33% and the final production capability is 6.38 million gallons per day. The system utilizes a number of pre-treatment, primary and post-treatment processes that ultimately produce a very high quality potable water.
The plant also has five high service pumps, one rated at 700 gallons per minute, two rated at 1000 gallons per minute and two rated at 2000 gallons per minute each. The larger pumps are equipped with variable frequency drives for controlling pressureand flow output.
An emergency backup generator provides power to the facility during periods when power is unavailable. When power is restored to the site, the facility will continue to operate without interruption, and the generator will shut down.
Water Treatment Plant #3 is served by wells that withdraw water from the Confined Surficial aquifer and utilizes a reverse osmosis type process called nano-filtration or membrane softening that softens the water. The facility has 2 treatment modules called skids that are rated at 1.125 million gallons per day each . The facility bypasses raw water at up to 33% and the final production capability is 3.0 million gallons per day. The plant is expandable in the future to 9.0 million gallons per day. The system utilizes a number of pre-treatment, primary and post-treatment processes that ultimately produce a very high quality potable water.
The plant has 4 high service pumps, one rated at 1400 gallons per minute, two rated at 2100 gallons per minute and one rated at 2800 gallons per minute. The pumps are equipped with variable frequency drives for controlling pressure and flow output.
An emergency backup generator provides power to the facility during periods when power is unavailable. When power is restored to the site, the
facility will continue to operate without interruption, and the generator will shut down.
Water Quality is carefully monitored and maintained throughout the entire Palm Coast service area. Water quality meets or exceeds all Federal and State standards for drinking water and is amongst the best in the State of Florida. The water treatment and water quality teams have won the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Operations Excellence Award for 19 of the past 25 years. We are very proud to be serving the City of Palm Coast and surrounding areas.
Q: I've been approached by someone telling me that I need a home water treatment system or filter for my drinking water. Do I need this?
Your city's water supply meets or exceeds all federal, state and local drinking water standards. Click here
for more information on home water treatment system sale scams.
Q: Why is my water green or yellow?
A: Most water from the source water wells that supply the Palm Coast treatment facilities contains trace amounts of organic material that occurs naturally and tends to impart a yellow/green to green color when rainfall percolates through the ground into the water table. Our treatment process only removes some of the organic color from the water. The color is most noticeable in large volume with a light colored background such as a toilet, tub or pool. The color issue is purely aesthetic and the level is below the maximum standard set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection of 15 color units. Some color may also be generated by corrosion by-products that can impart a red, orange or brown color to water in the distribution pipes; we can flush the lines to reduce this type of color. Air can also cause water to appear milky; we can flush the lines to reduce this type of color too.
Q: Is the water safe to drink?
A: Yes the water meets all of the standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Q: Disinfection: Why do we use Monochloramine? (Not Chlorine)
A: Monochloramine is a compound that uses both chlorine and ammonia. This disinfectant is used so that the chlorine does not react with certain organic material that occurs naturally in almost all ground water. A compound called Trihalomethane is formed as a result of these organic materials reacting with free chlorine. The ammonia is added to react with the chlorine so the chlorine does not react with the organic material. The city also temporarily changes the disinfection treatment procedure to free chlorine three times a year. This conversion to chlorine (which is a stronger disinfectant) from chloramines (which is a longer lasting disinfectant) allows us to perform a water distribution system purge as recommended by the Department of Environmental Protection for water utilities using chloramines as their primary disinfectant. After this process is completed, we will revert to disinfection by the chloramines method. During this period, customers may experience a slight increase in the taste and odor of chlorine.
Q: What can I do if my water smells and tastes like chlorine?
A: The City of Palm Coast disinfects the drinking water with chloramines to ensure protection against contaminates throughout the distribution system. The city routinely collects bacteriologic samples throughout the city to ensure the water is safe and chlorine and pH levels are at our target level. However, at times customers may notice an increase in chlorine taste and odor. A chlorine odor is often an indicator that the disinfectant is effectively working to remove bacteria.
Q: Why does my water from the tap smell like rotten eggs?
A: An odor from your tap is commonly from the sink drain and not the water. The plumbing beneath your sink, typically the u-shape pipe, can collect debris over time and create an odor at your tap. If you smell an odor, fill a clean glass halfway with tap water and smell the water in a separate room or outdoors. If the odor is no longer present, the odor is likely from the plumbing beneath your sink. If the smell is still present it may be your hot water heater.
Single handle water faucets are typically being used in these situations and are not being fully turned on the cold position. This can occur when a water heater is too large for amount of hot water typically used or may be stale water. This happens in homes that are left vacant for a long period of time. Flush lines to bring in fresh water and total chlorine residual. Hot water heaters in vacant homes can cause this problem also. Heating the water can liberate hydrogen. If there are any sulfur compounds available, the result would be the formation of Hydrogen Sulfide, a rotten egg odor causing gas. In addition, sulfur reducing bacteria can liberate hydrogen sulfide and cause black water. A solution is to increase the temperature of the hot water heater temporarily to above 160 degrees. This will destroy the sulfur bacteria.
Q: What causes the water to stain my clothes?
A: Stains can be caused by corrosion products from the distribution system or household plumbing, old hot water heaters or washing machines or the type of detergent or bleach used. This condition can often be solved by simply flushing the water lines or water heater, or changing the type of detergent or bleach used.
Q: Why are there particles in my water or in my ice cubes?
A: This can come from distribution system sediment, household plumbing or when water freezes into ice causing calcium to precipitate.
Q: Why is there orange or pink material in both shower and bath?
A: Pink residue is less likely a problem associated with water quality than with naturally occurring airborne bacteria, and also affected by the home owner's cleaning habits. The bacteria produces a pinkish film, and sometimes a dark gray film, on surfaces that are regularly moist, including shower heads, toilet bowls, bathtubs sink drains and tile. Short of buying pink fixtures, the best solution is to keep surfaces free from bacteria film is continual cleaning.
Q: Dishwasher Problems? Staining or etching of dishes, glasses or silverware?
A: Etching is caused by overuse of dish washing detergents on pre – rinsed glasses / dishes. The recommendation is to use the proper amount of detergent for our hardness level (approximately 6 grains per gallon), use a different product, or use a drying agent such as Jet Dry. If you have staining or corrosion problems on your silverware, try separating the knives from other silverware. Some knives have high carbon content and will develop surface rust or can cause surface rust on other utensils. Always hand wash and dry, fine china, and real silverware.
Q: Why does my toilet bowl have a black ring around it?
A: This is usually mold, mildew or mineral deposits at the water / air interface. Bacteria, fungus and mold spores normally found in the air can cause rings in your toilet bowl. Wet surfaces provide ideal conditions, and the organisms reproduce rapidly, growing together to form a ring. The color of the ring depends on the species of bacteria, mold or fungus. Another possibility may be your washers and flappers inside the toilet tank are breaking down from the chlorine causing the black coming off your flapper to stain your toilet. You can easily remove the rings with a toilet bowl brush and household cleaners. Close the toilet lid to reduce the number of spores and reduce the light needed for growth. This is usually mold, mildew or mineral deposits at the water / air interface. The recommendation is to clean with bleach or a cleaning product such as CLR.
Q: Why do we use Corrosion Inhibitors?
A: To preclude the leaching of certain metals into the water - particularly lead, copper and iron.
Q: Why do we sample for lead and copper?
A: These are materials that are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. We have to demonstrate that our water is stable and does not promote leaching of these materials into the water from household plumbing systems.
Q: Why are there white eggshell like particles clogging my faucet aerators?
A: According to plumbing industry sources some residential hot water tanks may have a defective, white, plastic 'dip tube' inside the tank. Dip tubes are used to deliver the incoming cold water directly to the bottom of the hot water tank. This helps to prevent the cold, denser water from mixing with the hot water which is lighter and remains in the upper portion of the unit. When a dip tube breaks down inside the hot water tank, small plastic chips or flakes (pieces of the dip tube) may enter the household piping, get caught in the aerator screen at the tap and block the flow of water. Depending upon the manufacturer, some of the dip tube particles float, some sink and some may appear greenish or tan colored. Dip tubes that have broken off inside the hot water tank allow the cold water to mix with the hot water. Thus, it will seem like the hot water does not last as long.While the chips do not pose a health risk, since they clog household faucets and appliances and diminish the heater efficiency and effectiveness, the dip tube should be fixed. If you experience this problem, contact your plumber for information on dip tube replacement.
Q: Sometimes the water from my tap is a brown. What causes this?
A: In Palm Coast, brown water suddenly coming from the tap is usually the result of a disturbance to the normal flow of water in a water main. This disturbance may be caused by opening or closing a water main valve, opening a fire hydrant or a water main break. If the water inside the pipe changes either speed or direction or both, this change can cause the sediments inside the pipe to lift from the bottom and flow with the water. This could cause brown water to come out of the tap. Typically the Utility Department flushes water through hydrants annually to remove these pipe sediments and keep your water clean. If the brown water is a common occurrence rather than something that happens on seldom basis, it is possible that the brown water may be caused by old, rusty pipes inside the house or from failing hot water tanks. Brown water coming only from the hot water tap is an indication of a problem with the hot water tank.
Q: Is our water safe for watering plants?
A: Yes. The drinking water in Palm Coast is safe for watering all plants.
Q: Is our water safe for pets and fish?
A: Our water is safe for all pets to drink except for fish, reptiles and amphibians that live in water. Animals that live in water take water directly into their bloodstream through their gills. For this reason, the disinfectant must be removed before adding water to fish bowls and aquariums. Consult your local pet store for the appropriate neutralizing chemical. Ensure that the product says that it will neutralize 'chloramines' and 'chlorine'.
Q: Will using a home filter make the water safer to drink?
A: Home water filters may improve the taste, smell or appearance of your drinking water, but they do not necessarily make the water any safer or healthier. Please keep in mind that filters need regular maintenance. If the filter is not maintained properly, it can actually become a source of contamination and the water coming from the filter may contain high levels of bacteria.
Q: Do I need to buy bottled water?
A: There is no need to buy bottled water for health reasons since the drinking water in Palm Coast meets all state and federal water standards. Also bottled water is up to 273 times more costly than palm Coast drinking water.
Q: What is the bottom line on Palm Coast Water Quality?
A: Palm Coast residents enjoy safe, healthful water. Palm Coast Utility Water Operations staff run hundreds of tests each month on the water in the Palm Coast Drinking Water System.
Q: What is the hardness of our drinking water?
A: The average hardness of the drinking water in Palm Coast is about 100 mg/L (or expressed in different units, about 6 grains per gallon). In Palm Coast, since the water is soft, dish washing and clothes washing require less detergent than in cities that have hard water. Soft water is 100 mg/L or less. Hard water is 200 mg/L or more.
Q: What is the fluoride concentration in our drinking water?
Very low levels of fluoride are naturally present in Palm Coast drinking water. This natural fluoride comes from the geological formations. The average amount of fluoride in our water is about 0.061 mg/L (almost non –detectable). This is well below the maximum limit of 4.0 mg/L
Q: Do I need to use a fluoride supplement?
A: The tiny amount (0.061 mg/L) of fluoride that is present in Palm Coast drinking water is considered inadequate for dental protection purposes. Individuals must provide their own supplements if they so desire. It is suggested that you consult your dentist.
Q: Sometimes my water looks milky. Is it still safe to drink?
A: In a drinking water system, the water travels under pressure. Occasionally, during maintenance work, air may become trapped inside these pipes and when the pipe is returned to service, the water pressure causes the air to dissolve into the water. Then, when the water comes out of the tap, it is no longer under pressure and the air that was dissolved in the water, comes out of solution forming very tiny bubbles. This causes the water to look milky. When poured into a glass, the milky water will start to clear from the bottom up - with the clear water slowly moving upward. Often, when the water is clearing, the water will effervesce like pop. Usually this milky appearance is only temporary and the water will soon return to normal. The water is still safe to drink.
Q: Why do I sometimes see technicians flushing fire hydrants?
A: Palm Coast water quality technicians regularly flush fire hydrants throughout the Distribution system to test chlorine and pH levels. When crews flush hydrants, it comes out of a hydrant all at once, and the water may initially look discolored. If you watch our workers flush, you will notice that the water clears up rather quickly.
Q: Does the city maintain the fire hydrants?
A: Palm Coast does hydrant maintenance regularly on all the hydrants throughout the city and flushes hydrants to ensure that all fire hydrants are working properly and serviced.
Q: What is corrosion control treatment?
A: Corrosion control treatment is a treatment technique used to prevent pipe corrosion and the presence of metals in drinking water. Drinking water treatment plants, such as the City of Palm Coast, use corrosion control treatment before water leaves the treatment plant. The city adds orthophosphate to prevent corrosion of pipes in the distribution system and in your home. Orthophosphate creates a thin protective coating inside pipes and plumbing fixtures and is very effective in reducing the presence of lead and other metals in the city's water.
Q: Is orthophosphate safe in my drinking water?
A: Yes, orthophosphate is a commonly used corrosion control treatment and is safe in drinking water. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated orthophosphate treatment as the optimal corrosion control treatment for reducing the presence of lead in drinking water. Orthophosphate is a food-grade chemical and is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA. DC Water has set strict target levels for orthophosphate in the water distribution system and routinely samples and tests water to ensure levels meet EPA standards.
Q: Does the city sample the drinking water?
A: Yes, the City of Palm Coast takes bacteriological samples twice a month to ensure safe drinking water. We also have two water quality technicians that flush dead end water mains to check chlorine and ph. levels daily to ensure water quality.