The South Central Regional Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Plant treats about 17 million gallons of sewage a day. Here’s how wastewater from houses in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Highland Beach gets there.
A similar process is used in Boca Raton and at the East Central Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities in West Palm Beach, which serves South Palm Beach and a very small part of Manalapan.
• Sewage flows downhill — After wastewater leaves your home, it goes into a pipe, usually in your street, and is taken by gravity to a lift station, also known as a pump station.
• Pumped up — Wastewater from several area gravity mains collects in a wet well at the lift station. When the water reaches a certain level, a pump powered by electricity kicks on and pushes the sewage — now under pressure — through a pipe known as a force main.
• Moved by a master lift station — As the wastewater moves closer to the treatment plant, it merges with sewage from other force mains at a master lift station, where pumps push it farther along.
• Treated and released — At a treatment plant, wastewater is screened and separated to remove foreign objects and grit. It is then aerated to encourage microorganisms to break down organic materials before remaining solids are separated from liquid.
• Reused, reclaimed or injected — Solids are either put back in the system to help break down organic materials or are sent to West Palm Beach, where they’re processed into fertilizer by a private company. Liquids are either reclaimed and used for irrigation or injected into a deep well for disposal.