The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author in his personal capacity and do not necessarily represent the opinions or the views of the City of Palm Coast or the Palm Coast City Council.
Question from Pat Barile: With all the building going on, is there a plan for the water that we will need for this ever-growing city? Polk County has 80 people a day moving there, and they are working on a system to convert wastewater to drinking water. I, personally, find this repulsive. This is just one of the many reasons why many of us are so against all this building. There are many other issues, as we all know, that come out of an extremely overcrowded city, but I would love to know what the plan for the water is in the future.
Mayor David Alfin: Indeed, Pat: Let’s talk about future water resources in Palm Coast! I’ve read that by the year 2030, Florida’s demand for fresh water is estimated to increase by 28%. We may be a peninsula surrounded by ocean water, but groundwater is our traditional primary water supply source. As so many people are moving to Palm Coast, our demands on water and wastewater resources, augmented personnel and equipment will continue to grow at the same pace. Our infrastructure is well maintained, but portions are now over 50 years old and need more attention.
Palm Coast presently has three water treatment plants and two wastewater treatment plants. These are recent projects we have commenced:
1 – Creating a rehabilitation program for our wellfield, with yearly funding to ensure that the wells produce the needed quantity and quality of raw water needed by the community.
2 – Construction of a new test well to determine if additional locations could supply more water to the nearby Water Treatment Plant 1 on Palm Coast Parkway.
3 – Designing and constructing three new wells for additional source water to Water Treatment Plant 1.
4 – Working with a large property owner west of U.S. 1 to site additional wells for the city’s future needs and demands.
Additionally, and due to our growth, we believe that our Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 1 now will need an upgrade — sooner rather than later. A preliminary design report for the expansion has been approved by City Council and is underway. We are also under construction on an expansion of Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2. This expansion will increase the facility capacity from 2 million gallons a day to 4 million gallons a day.
City Council is presently tackling the challenge of how to pay for utility infrastructure improvements. State and federal grants, loans, developer impact fee increases and customer rate adjustments are all under consideration.
Meanwhile, there is one thing we can all do right now to plan for future water resource needs: conserve water. This includes landscaping using Florida-friendly techniques and consuming household water more efficiently. We have many suggestions on our website, palmcoastgov.com, so I hope you will take some time to have a look. And I do thank you for contacting me regarding your concern.