Wellington, Fla., has a population of 60,000, and its water reclamation facility has been on the receiving end of several accolades in the past, including Environmental Protection Agency Operations Maintenance Excellence Award in 2005; Florida Water Environment Association Biosolids Innovation and Technology Award in 2014; Florida Water Environment Association Biosolids Small Operations Award in 2015; and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Plant Excellence Award in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2014 and 2015.
Bryan J. Gayoso, Wellington’s water reclamation facility superintendent, has been at the facility for 14 years and has spent 30 years in the field. And he shared some of the keys to the Wellington water reclamation facility’s success below:
Q: What are some of the best practices of your water reclamation facility?
A: I would say that the overall operation of the facility is one of our strong points. We think we do a good job from the headworks (screenings), aeration, clarification, dewatering, biosolids drying and deep well injection.
Q: What are some recently completed, ongoing or future projects that set your system apart from others?
A: We completed a $22 million dollar expansion in 2012 that included a new aeration basin, additional belt press, solids handling pump, digesters, new reuse filters with additional pumps and a complete biosolids dryer system that allowed us to change from a Class B sludge to a Class AA sludge. We are currently in design phase for additional improvements that include headworks building rehabilitation with new odor control; new offices and control room; additional digesters; and relocation of digester blowers to a sound-abated building. The latter will be a concrete structure with concrete block made so the sound doesn’t travel. Now we’ve put sound blankets inside and outside the structure walls for digester blowers to keep the sound from bothering neighbors as much as possible. Final completion of the new building should be in early 2019.
Also, now the water that we don’t reuse goes into a well that is 2,800 feet deep. The goal is to get more of this water reused in the village. An engineer will come and develop a reuse master plan so that hopefully more water will go to the village. Additional sites may include equestrian fields and golf courses. (Wellington is the equestrian capital of the world.)
Q: What type of management do you use and what kind of training procedures?
A: My management style is hands on (I don’t mind getting dirty),
but I allow my staff the room to use their knowledge to get the job
done. No real established set of training. Usually people have had
experience elsewhere who come here to work. Our total staff includes six operators, two mechanics, myself and an electrician in instrumentation shared with water treatment. We have a combined 150 years of experience within our staff.
We have a safety program once a year that the utility (water treatment, water recollections, collection and distribution staff ) has held in house that involves a safety class: electrical safety, confined space training, excavation safety and personal protective equipment. This June we will have a company from outside do it for us. When new people come on staff, we connect them with someone experienced in this particular plant, and they learn the specifics of our system.
Our plant is on a very small property, 25 acres. It is a lot of equipment but in a small area. The treatment capacity is 6.5 million gallons per day.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
A: Our biggest challenge has been the successful operation and
maintenance of our dryer system. None of us had ever operated
or maintained a similar system so we had to learn from scratch.
The system has been running now for over five years without any
Q: What would be your advice to other cities that are looking to improve their water reclamation facilities?
• Visit other cities that have the equipment you are interested in. You’ll be glad you did. It makes all the difference.
• Definitely plan on drying biosolids; it’s the future of this field.
• Spend the money now to get the right equipment because you will
spend a lot more replacing and adding equipment in the future.
Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: Having the equipment and people to do the job properly makes the job so much easier. I like to plan ahead and see what we might need to do in the future. I enjoy coming in to work each day.