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Brighton’s water is currently drawn from the Surficial Aquifer.

by Beverly Bidney | Oct 24, 2016
The award-winning water provided by the Brighton Public Works Department could get even better thanks to a few deeper wells that will tap into a more productive water...

The award-winning water provided by the Brighton Public Works Department could get even better thanks to a few deeper wells that will tap into a more productive water source known as the massive Upper Floridan Aquifer.

Brighton’s water is currently drawn from the Surficial Aquifer, a shallow water source about 40 to 60 feet deep. The new wells will draw water from a depth of about 675 feet.

“There is no difference in the water quality of the two aquifers,” said Cynthia Fuentes, senior civil engineer at the Public Works Department. “The taste will remain the same or better.”

Public Works needs the deeper wells to sustain Brighton’s high volume, which includes water to the reservation and to the Lakeport community. Modifications to the water treatment plant, built in 2008, are being designed with construction slated to begin in about 18 months. The state-of-the-art reverse osmosis system will remain in place, but the  system’s water route will be changed to increase efficiency and prohibit growth of biological matter.

The seven wells currently in use produce an average of about 300 gallons per minute. More than one well must be used to deliver the required minimum flow of 711 gpm needed for the treatment process, which uses microfiltration followed by nanofiltration to remove all impurities. The target flow for the new wells is 711 gpm, which equates to just over one million gallons per day. Fuentes said they expect to use two wells and keep a third for emergencies.

“Our standards are stricter than federal standards,” Fuentes said. “The federal standard for total dissolved solids is 500 mg per liter; the Tribe’s is 250 mg per liter.”

That commitment to excellence helped earn the Brighton water plant first place in March in the Best Tasting Water Competition for the American Water Works Association in Florida’s District 8, which includes six counties in east Central Florida.

Public Works tribal-wide has earned honors around the state this year. In April, the Tribe’s Hollywood plant came in second place for best tasting water in AWWA District 6, which encompasses 68 cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

In April, all of the Tribe’s waste water treatment plants—Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood and Immokalee—earned second place for safety by the Florida Water Environment Association.

The organization also presented Public Works Director Derek Koger with its prestigious 2016 Thomas T. Jones Public Education Award for “significant accomplishments that foster and support the development of public outreach programs and integrating public education as a core element of wastewater and water utility planning and management,” according to the association’s website.