Sep 17, 2008

Florida Municipalities Use RO Membranes to Meet Increasing Demand for Drinking Water

Boynton Beach and Fort Pierce, Fla., implement FILMTEC reverse osmosis membranes from Dow Water Solutions

High-capacity FILMTEC reverse osmosis membrane elements from Dow Water Solutions are helping the Florida municipalities of Boynton Beach and Fort Pierce, Fla., meet increasing local demand for drinking water.

The Boynton Beach municipality replaced the existing older membranes in its water purification system with new, higher square footage FILMTEC membranes and added more pressure vessels, enabling increased water output and reduced energy costs. At Fort Pierce, a new train was installed and pressure vessels were added to the two existing trains. By choosing Dow’s products, both municipalities were able to bring about incremental water capacity expansions in the short term, without the high capital expenditure associated with adding new equipment beyond the existing system footprint.

“As populations grow, municipalities are faced with increasing pressure to keep up with growing demand for water supplies,” said Harold Fravel, North American municipal industry manager, Dow Water Solutions. “Over the years, we have been able to improve the performance of FILMTEC membranes by increasing their active surface area, and therefore capacity, and reducing the level of pressure required to run the membranes. We value the long and fruitful relationships we have with the cities of Boynton Beach and Fort Pierce and we’re pleased to be able to bring these innovations to their water treatment projects.”

Increasing Water Supply at Boynton Beach
The Boynton Beach West Water Treatment Plant, located in Palm Beach County, provides a steady water supply to the area’s 67,000 residents. To increase output, the facility replaced its older FILMTEC membrane elements in six trains with the newer, more efficient 400-sq-ft FILMTEC NF90-400 and FILMTEC NF270-400 membrane elements, and also added three pressure vessels to three of the trains. One year later the newer membranes, combined with the additional pressure vessels, increased the facility’s water capacity by 10%, and reduced energy costs by lessening the required operating pressure to run the plant. Completed in March 2007, the expansion enabled the facility to operate at a total capacity of 8.7 million gal per day (mgd).

“We are extremely satisfied with the performance of FILMTEC membrane technology,” said Terry Daeumler, lead operator at the Boynton Beach West Water Treatment Plant. “The original FILMTEC membranes we installed at the facility were functioning extremely well and we would not even have considered replacing them had it not been for the increasing demand of a growing population. We’re pleased that we were able to increase our output so cost-effectively.”

Expanding Water Capacity at Fort Pierce
The Henry A. Gahn Water Treatment Plant in Fort Pierce, Saint Lucie County, also enlisted the help of Dow Water Solutions in response to increasing demand for water supply. In 2005, the facility added four pressure vessels, each containing seven FILMTEC BW30LE-440 or FILMTEC NF90-400 membrane elements, resulting in an additional 0.5 mgd of water. In 2006, another train, with a capacity of 3.25 mgd, was added, raising the plant’s original capacity of 8.66 mgd to 10.33 mgd. All three trains treat a feedwater containing 900 parts per million total dissolved solids and operate at 85% recovery.

“Since the Henry A Gahn water treatment facility came online in 2002, we have been providing a reliable, safe and continuous water supply to the residents of Fort Pierce and the surrounding community,” said Richard Stenberg, water resources superintendent at the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority. “Instead of having to build several new trains to meet local water demands, we were able to increase capacity in a cost efficient manner by installing upgraded FILMTEC membranes.”