MANATEE COUNTY – The Manatee County Utilities Department has been working to improve water service to its 320,000+ customers with new and improved water filters. Crews at the County’s water treatment facility are completing work on an innovative new filter system as part of the Lake Manatee Ultrafiltration Upgrade Project.
The project replaces the existing surface water media filters (installed in the 1960s and 70s) with new submerged ultrafiltration membranes. The membranes form a barrier to particles which prevent solids, algae and pathogens from continuing in the purification process. This filtration system will ensure that the County will be able to meet all current and future more stringent turbidity regulations. Additionally, water quality will be more consistent because of the fixed-pore sizes and the automated process of cleaning.
“Because the footprint of the (new) membranes is considerably smaller than the (old) media filters, the full capacity was installed where just half of the existing media filters were,” explained Manatee County Utilities Deputy Director Katie Gilmore. “This meant the retrofit project could be constructed during regular operations.”
The completion of this project—the largest submerged ultrafiltration retrofit project in the country—means that Manatee County will now have the largest ultrafiltration plant in the state of Florida. It also means that the County is poised to maintain service as the customer base continues to grow.
“Water is our most important natural resource, and this treatment helps the County maintain it magnificently,” said Manatee County Commission Chair Mike Rahn. “This upgrade will help give us more consistent water quality."
Utilities leaders will join Manatee County Commissioners January 31, 2024, for a ceremonial “First Drink” to celebrate the new and improved filtration process.