Note - At the Wednesday, January 18th City Council meeting, it was announced that The City of Apopka was in talks to hire an independent engineering consultant to assess the Wastewater Treatment Facility. Through a press release yesterday, the City said that it hired Woodard & Curran to conduct independent operations, maintenance, and management assessment of the plant after a "warning letter" came from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection outlining its concerns.
Here is the News Release from Public Information Officer Robert Sargent:
The City of Apopka yesterday hired Woodard & Curran – among the country’s best wastewater management and engineering companies – to conduct an independent operations, maintenance, and management assessment of the municipality’s 26-year-old wastewater utility.
The thorough inspection is part of Apopka’s voluntary efforts to ensure that the wastewater plant at 748 E. Cleveland St. is managed properly and in full accordance with regulatory requirements of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is working with the city to address recent issues at the facility. The plant treats up to 4.5 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater each day from more than 17,000 city customers located in and around Orange County’s second largest city.
Apopka is committed to operating the aged wastewater facility with the highest regard for public health and transparency, employee safety and environmental safeguards while undergoing construction of a $61 million plant expansion – the single largest project in municipal history that will increase maximum treatment capacity to 8 million gallons a day.
The plant expansion will allow Apopka to better accommodate wastewater through future years of city growth. It also is necessary to meet Florida’s environmental regulations for this area of the state.
If directed by FDEP, the new facility also will replace a sprayfield where one ground monitoring well identified some environmental impact from historic use. All other monitoring wells including those around the perimeter of the treatment facility and multiple sprayfields show no impacts from plant operations.
The City of Apopka also has implemented new procedures to ensure prompt and accurate reporting of utility operations – the primary issue identified from a recent facility inspection by state officials.
Woodard & Curran will conduct the assessment of the city’s treatment facility beginning this week. Work is expected to wrap up by Feb. 3. The company will then submit the results of a Management Assessment Profile within two weeks after the inspection.
The assessment will observe plant operations and interview city staff, grading against 25 industry standards to identify potential improvements regarding everything from staff structure and operational procedures to maintenance practices, equipment demands and administrative policies. Work will be headed by a Woodard & Curran project manager who currently oversees several Florida utilities and has evaluated more than 125 water and wastewater systems.
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