St. Augustine is once again recognized for being first, but this time it is not something historical. Rather, the city has garnered statewide and national recognition for the implementation of cutting edge technology in the treatment of wastewater.

The process, involving the use of peracetic acid rather than chlorine to disinfect wastewater effluent, has been used in agricultural premises, food establishments and medical facilities since its approval by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1985, and yet only in some European countries is it widely used to treat wastewater. That is until the City of St. Augustine was initially permitted to launch a pilot program and then allowed to implement full scale use of the alternative method.

The primary benefit of using peracetic acid is its environmental benefits to aquatic life as 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.

Martha Graham, Public Works Director, and George Lomax, Treatment Plants Manager, presented a paper 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.

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 904.825.1040.

Source: City of St. Augustine