ORLANDO, Fla., May 17 A Florida Water Services
Corporation wastewater treatment facility in Lehigh Acres, Fla.,
just outside of Fort Myers, has won the state's top award for
operational excellence. The Earl B. Phelps Award was presented
by the Florida Water Environment Association and given to the
plant, which was the first in Florida to use a new state-of-the-
art technology called ZeeWeed.
The process filters wastewater through a membrane with pores
that are 1/100 the size of a human hair, without the use of any
Unlike the conventional system of pushing sewage through filters,
the ZeeWeed technology uses low vacuum. Eight-foot-high racks
containing more than 1,000 spaghetti-like membranes are dropped
into a sludge tank. The vacuum pulls wastewater through the
membranes, which remove contaminants. The water is then
reclaimed for irrigation of the Admiral Lehigh Golf Course.
The award, the most recognized award in Florida in the field
of wastewater treatment, was given to the facility and its lead
operator, Beverly Stephenson, after a record-keeping review and
an on-site inspection.
Florida Water Services (http://www.florida-water.com), a wholly
owned subsidiary of ALLETE (NYSE: ALE)(http://www.allete.com),
has more than 30 years' experience serving Florida citizens and
communities, providing the treatment and distribution of drinking
water and the treatment of wastewater. More than 500,000
Floridians in 27 Florida counties rely on Florida Water Services.
Florida Water's parent company, ALLETE Water Services, is also
the holding company for Heater Utilities, North Carolina's largest
investor-owned water and wastewater company; Georgia Water Services;
U.S. Maintenance and Management; Instrumentation Services Inc.;
and Americas' Water Services Corporation.
ALLETE is a multi-services company with corporate headquarters
in Duluth, Minn. Holdings include the second largest wholesale
automobile auction network in North America; the leading provider
of independent auto dealer inventory financing; the largest
investor-owned water utilities in Florida and North Carolina;
significant real estate holdings in Florida; and a low-cost
electric utility that serves some of the largest industrial
customers in the United States.