Getting clean, refreshing water in Palm Springs was not an easy task. The ground water supply in South Florida typically contains large amounts of total organic carbon (TOC) in the predominant form of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Organic compounds result from the degradation of vegetation that occurs naturally in the local environment. Extensive treatment methods are required to remove the organic material (humic acid) and decolorize the water. Most water utilities disinfect such water with chlorination, a treatment that in the presence of DOC produces such byproducts as trihalomethanes (THM).
Most communities have developed water treatment systems to handle these issues, but in recent years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed new standards with tighter tolerances on disinfection byproducts. As a result, public works directors are seeking new treatment options that will effectively remove DOC and thus prevent the creation of harmful byproducts.
“There are new regulations coming down that require us to do something about TTHMs and HAA5s, and we’ve always had to battle to stay within the color limits on our water,” said Bill Davis, Director of Public Services in the Village of Palm Springs. “To meet the color requirements we had to use a lot of chlorine, then strip it back out again. It was getting more and more costly.”