Through ups, downs, and more than a dozen projects,
Ayres and one small Florida community maintain a
positive partnership that’s stood the test of time
By Jennifer Schmidt
n the surface, the City of Palatka, Florida, may come across as an average small
community, offering visitors a network of parks, a quaint downtown business
district, and a host of historic sites. But a closer look into the City’s inner
workings suggests otherwise. Just ask wastewater treatment plant superintendent
A City employee of 22 years, McCann said Palatka has always aspired to be forwardthinking and innovative – case in point being its inventive water reuse project.
A rarity at the time
All wastewater treatment plants are designed to remove waste products from
water, but the City of Palatka’s system takes the process to the next level. The City’s
wastewater treatment plant includes an additional filtration and disinfection process
that allows the City to irrigate the local golf course, airport, cemeteries, and ball fields
with the treated wastewater – also known as reclaimed or reuse water. This way, the
water is used for beneficial purposes rather than released into the nearby St. Johns
An early goal was to see Palatka discharging 100 percent of final effluent – or
discharge water – as reuse by 2015, and the City is nearly there.
“We have sampling events twice a year that require us to discharge water to the river,
so I hate to say 100 percent when I know we have these sampling events coming. But
we’re going to be 99.999 percent discharge for reuse,” McCann said.
Part of the team
Elwin “Woody” Boynton Jr. works as director of the Division of Administrative and
Operational Services for the St Johns River Water Management District but served as
the City of Palatka’s public works director from 2005 to 2007 and as its city manager
from 2008-2012 – a time when Ayres was the primary consultant to the City regarding
its wastewater treatment plant operations.
Shown here is an aerial view of the Wastewater
Treatment Plant in Palatka, Florida.