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The Villages
Saturday, November 26, 2022

Rampant growth in Wildwood puts pressure on 40-year-old sewage plant

A blueprint to cope with mounting sewage flow from Wildwood’s rampant development was presented to commissioners at a special meeting Monday.

Benjamin Fries, a vice president of CPH Engineers, offered a two-pronged approach that includes upgrading the current sewage treatment plant and building a new one next to it capable of handling six million gallons of wastewater daily.

CPH Engineers of Sanford was hired last spring to provide direction for the city on sewage treatment.

Wildwoods waste water treatment facility is 40 years old
Wildwood’s waste water treatment facility is 40 years old.

Wildwood’s sewage treatment plant currently processes about 1.7 million gallons of wastewater daily, a 16.7 percent increase from a year ago.

Fries said the plant was designed to handle 3.5 million gallons a day, but is capable of just 2.8 million due to inefficiency.

“We have a flow level a lot higher than ever anticipated in your master plan,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do quickly so we can keep up with the growth.”

The 40-year-old plant on the city’s west side will reach capacity in about three years and construction of a new plant must begin soon, he said, especially with current supply chain delays.

On another CPH Engineers project, Fries said, piping is expected to take 54 weeks for delivery.

He said the existing plant’s capacity can be increased by parallel routing between oxidation ditches and clarifiers and untangling what he described as a “spaghetti mess of piping.”

Temporary PVC piping can be used since the plant eventually will be closed when the new plant opens. Construction can begin early next year and design work can be completed simultaneously, Fries said.

He suggested the new plant can be built in four flexible phases as needed by Wildwood’s growth.

Oxidation ditches would be adjacent to each other to reduce the amount of piping and concrete. The old plant would continue to operate until the new plant is fully operational. Then it could be demolished and the land returned to open space.

Mayor Ed Wolf said the existing plant was expanded as needed over decades to meet capacity needs.

“This has been a piecemeal plan for the past 30 to 40 years,” he said. “Nobody thought we would ever reach this stage of growth.”


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