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The sewer treatment plant and sewer collection system operation & maintenance is contracted to Operations Management International, Inc. (OMI). OMI employs 25 people at its Key West facility, which functions much like a City department. Wastewater is treated and pumped out into the ocean through an outfall dating back to 1954. The treatment plant was constructed in 1989 and was designed and permitted to process sewage at a rate of 10 million gallons per day (MGD).

Currently, average flows are approximately 4 MGD, a reduction from 8 MGD two years ago. This reduction in flow indicates the success of the $56 million collection system rehabilitation. Seawater inflow that previously entered the system and had to be unnecessarily pumped to the plant no longer occurs.

The City has spent more than $67 million over the past 3 years on sewer capital improvements to rebuild the collection system, replace the ocean outfall with a Class I Deep Injection Well, and upgrade the current Sewer Treatment Plant to an Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) facility.

Accomplishments for Wastewater:

  • Completed upgrade of the facility to AWT capability one month early eliminating discharge to the ocean, rerouting treated effluent to a new Class I deep injection well, and improving near shore water quality. Ocean outfall will now be used as an emergency backup only and is scheduled to be permanently decommissioned by 2006.

  • AWT and deep injection well was substantially complete, permitted, and operationally tested in September 2001. The facility ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held the fourth week of September.

  • Completed several plant repair/maintenance projects i.e. replaced major clarifier gear drive, installed disc-flow type pumps to replace old-style progressing cavity scum recycle pumps. Saved the City over $90,000 by utilizing OMI staff and completing these tasks "in-house".

  • Installed a separate power source at pump station "D allowing all three pumps to be in operation simultaneously, if necessary. Will allow increase in total flow during emergency high flow periods by 1.4 million gallons per day (MGD).

  • Installed a conveyor belt weight scale to maximize total tons of solids hauled away from the plant.

  • Replaced antiquated emergency equipment and backup power battery banks ensuring proper operation of equipment and uninterrupted service especially during an emergency.

  • Near shore water pollution, resulting in public health concerns and beach closures, created a need for expedited sewer collection system design. Utilities designed 18% of sewer collection system "in-house" expediting design phase from nine to three months. In addition, "in-house" design saved the City over $300,000.

  • The 7-year capital plan for the Sewer Rehabilitation Project was accelerated and estimated to be complete in 3 years. The project was substantially completed in 2 years, 6 months ahead of the accelerated schedule. Early completion minimized impact of construction on Key West residents.

  • Completed sewer work in District "C" on January 26, 2001.

  • Completed sewer work in District "DA" on February 27, 2001.

  • Completed sewer work in Districts "F & G" on July 30, 2001.

  • Sewer work at Pump Station "A" began July 2001 and is scheduled for completion by the end of FY 2001.

  • Handled 85% of Sewer Construction complaints within 48 hours of receipt. An average of ten complaints per month were received and addressed.

  • Provided weekly status updates on construction projects to the public through newspaper ads, outreach meetings, and door-to-door canvassing.

  • Since 1998, the City of Key West has replaced 241,595 feet or 46 miles of mainline sewer pipe, 147,158 feet or 28 miles of service laterals, 13,329 or 2.5 miles of sewer force main pipe.

  • Completed Phase-I of lateral testing. 100% of laterals have been tested (14,198 laterals) for leaks. 6,276 laterals failed initial tests, a failure rate of 44%. Since initial testing, 5,039 or 80% of leaking laterals have been replaced or repaired and have come into compliance with the City's Ordinances.

  • The City continues to test and retest private property sewer laterals to ensure continual improvement of water quality in Key West's near shore waters.

  • Implemented a Mainline/Manhole testing program established to identify any possible failures in new and pre-existing mainlines. The program began in June 2001 and is scheduled for completion in June 2002.


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