FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      

Contact:            Rick Diaz or Patty DiPiero,
                         Lee County Utilities, (239) 479-8181


FORT MYERS, Fla. (October 24, 2002) – Lee County has doubled the capacity of one of its five wastewater treatment plants – allowing for maximum use of reclaimed water – and will hold a ribbon cutting Wednesday (Oct. 30) to celebrate the completion of the project.

The ceremony will be at 11 a.m. at the Fiesta Village Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility, 1366 San Souci Drive, which is just south of Cypress Lake Drive between McGregor Boulevard and Winkler Road (turn from Cypress Lake to Fiesta Way, which intersects San Souci).  County Commissioner Ray Judah will serve as master of ceremonies.

The Fiesta Village facility serves south Fort Myers and its treatment capacity has been expanded from 2.5 million gallons per day (mgd) to 5 mgd.  The expansion was needed to handle growth in the area and to provide for reclaimed storage and pumping facilities.  More than 90 lift stations send wastewater to the plant.  The project cost was $6.9 million and was funded through utility user fees.

The Fiesta Village Plant was built in 1985.  Its advanced treatment process allows for the removal of nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus, which produces a high quality effluent. The effluent is disinfected and has two means of discharge: reclaimed water for irrigation of golf courses and green spaces or disposal to the Caloosahatchee River.  The expansion allows the facility to maximize the reclaimed water being sent to Lee County Utilities’ irrigation customers and at the same time reduces the amount of effluent being disposed into the river.

The design team, TKW Consulting Engineers, and the construction manager, Centex Rooney, took advantage of an existing oxidation ditch and clarifier and only needed to prepare the structures and add the mechanical equipment.

The expansion also included the construction of a 2 million gallon reclaimed water storage tank that has a new reclaimed water transfer pump station with eight reclaimed transfer pumps.  The chlorine disinfection system was converted to sodium hypochlorite, which includes new pumps, chemical storage tanks, and piping.  An additional electrical room was built and the entire operations control console was replaced and upgraded to handle all of the additions to the plant’s operations.

The county’s Utilities Division serves 55,000 water and 39,500 sewer customers in portions of North, East and South Lee County.  The county operates five wastewater-treatment plants – Fort Myers Beach, Fiesta Village, Waterway Estates, Highpoint and Pine Island – with a total of 12.5-million gallons of capacity per day, and five water-treatment plants – College Parkway, Corkscrew, Green Meadows, Olga and Waterway Estates – with a combined 26-million gallons of capacity per day.  The Utilities Division has an annual operating budget of about $30.3 million.