Water Reclamation Facilities
Three Water Reclamation Facilities are always ready and fully operational
Water Reclamation Facility #1
Until 1915, there were no wastewater treatment facilities in Ocala. All sewage initially was disposed of through outhouses and then cesspools. In that year, two primary treatment plants were built. These facilities had a treatment efficiency of only fifty percent. Effluent was discharged to drainage wells connected directly into the Floridan Aquifer. In 1949, both of these plants were abandoned and were replaced by pumping stations, Lift Station #1 and Lift Station #2. These lift stations pumped sewage to the newly constructed secondary treatment plant located at 1220 NW 4th Avenue.
This trickling filter facility, Sewer Treatment Plant #1, had a design efficiency of 90 percent. Effluent was disposed of in percolation ponds west of the plant. Sludge processing at that time consisted of de-watering raw sludge using a vacuum filter. This was reported to be a very odorous operation. The sludge was disposed of on city property, which eventually became the site of what is now Water Reclamation Facility #2.
In 1956, the facility was expanded to double the initial treatment capacity of 1.23 million gallons per day (MGD) to the present limit of 2.46 MGD. This expansion not only increased the size of the plant, it added three anaerobic digesters for less odorous sludge processing.
In 1986, the second major plant expansion included the addition of secondary effluent filtration. These improvements increased the level of treatment from secondary (restrictive reuse) to tertiary (adds final filtration process to meet public access reuse criteria), allowing for effluent disposal through spray irrigation at the newly expanded Pine Oaks Golf Course. This beneficial method of disposal brought about a change of designation, the facility became known as Water Reclamation Facility #1. Consistent removal of 98 percent or more of the total suspended solids entering the facility is normal in the reuse water.
In 1996 the third major plant expansion occurred. A new headworks with automatic bar screen and grit classifier was constructed along with a biofilter for odor control. Also, two circular primary clarifiers were built for better solids settling. They replaced four rectangular primary clarifiers. A new trickling filter splitter box was added for improved chemical mixing. Once the existing headworks and primary clarifiers were demolished, a new administrative office and storage building was erected. A new maintenance shop was also part of this addition.
This facility us scheduled to be decommissioned around 2013 and its flows diverted to our two larger and newer treatment plants, WRF #2 and WRF #3.
Water Reclamation Facility #2
WRF#2 went into operation in 1971 to treat 3.5 MGD (millions of gallons per day) of wastewater. In 1992, capacity was expanded to 6.5 MGD, and can be expanded to 8.5 MGD when needed. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) establishes discharge limits for this treatment facility. If the effluent does not meet the specified limitations of the operating permit, the State of Florida has the authority to levy fines. To meet the requirements, our operators must be certified by FDEP, thoroughly familiar with the treatment processes and perform all of the necessary operational duties to maintain a high quality and environmentally safe effluent product. The wastewater produced within the WRF#2 service area is predominantly a combination of industrial and domestic wastes. A portion of wastewater consists of commercial wastes from motels, restaurants, car washes, and light industry. WRF#2 is designed to remove dissolved and suspended pollutants from the wastewater and inactivate disease-causing microorganisms in the final discharge.
Michael S. Finn
Water Reclamation Facility #3
The Michael S. Finn Water Reclamation Facility #3 is the newest and most advanced of the City's wastewater treatment systems. This facility is presently rated to treat up to 4.0 MGD of wastewater per day and can be expanded up to 8.0 MGD. This plant serves all of Ocala west of South West and North West 27th Avenue. Below is the operations and maintenance building which houses this facility's control room, offices, laboratory, maintenance and storage areas.