Martha Graham, Public Works Director for the City of St Augustine, informed local Historic City News reporters that the cutting edge technology used by the City to disinfect wastewater effluent, has earned statewide and national recognition for the Department.
Since its approval by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1985, St Augustine began using peracetic acid rather than chlorine in the disinfecting process. Some European countries use the method widely to treat wastewater; however, in this country, its use has been limited to agricultural premises, food establishments and medical facilities.
The City was initially permitted to launch a pilot program and then allowed to implement full scale use of the peracetic acid method. The primary benefit of the alternative process is its environmental benefits to aquatic life — it does not generate chlorinated disinfection byproducts. In short, the treated wastewater entering the waterways has a far less impact on the environment than wastewater treated with chlorine.
This innovative process has not gone unnoticed, but rather has garnered a lot of interest from the wastewater industry as evidenced by the invitations extended to city staff to share details of the program with their peers. Those invitations included two leading professional associations, the Florida Industrial Pretreatment Association and Water Environment Federation.
George Lomax, Treatment Plants Manager, jointly presented a paper with Graham on the comparison of peracetic acid with chlorine for the disinfection of wastewater effluent at the Water Environment Federation Technical Conference held in New Orleans earlier this month, an annual conference attended by over 17,000 water professionals from around the world.
Then, just last week, Glabra Skipp, Environmental Compliance Inspector, presented the same paper at the Florida Industrial Pretreatment Association Conference, a statewide professional association of which Skipp is the northern regional coordinator.