Veolia North America has been an integral part of the community in Palmetto, Florida for more than 27 years, developing a strong local partnership in delivering high quality wastewater treatment services that has helped this idyllic seaside town of 13,000 meet the needs of its population while preserving its stunning natural resources.
Located on the shores of Terra Ceia Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast, just south of Tampa, Palmetto turned to Veolia to operate and manage its wastewater treatment system to help the city comply with an environmental consent order to protect the bay. In the years since, Veolia and the city have worked closely to develop a strong record of environmental sustainability that has helped the quality of the bay’s waters improve immensely.
The wastewater treatment plant is located a stone’s throw from the coast of the bay, where recreational boaters and beachgoers mingle with a rich variety of birds and marine life. Brett Taylor, the project manager for Veolia at the Palmetto plant, said the company maintains deep roots with the community, ensuring that the plant is responsive to the city’s needs and maintaining the quality of life for residents.
“We all live and work in this part of the state, so we feel responsible for being a good community partner,” he said. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve, and making the most of Veolia’s resources to enhance efficiency and sustainability.
Among the steps Veolia has taken to strengthen its commitment to the community include:
- Expanding the plant’s wastewater capacity by 1 million gallons per day, from 1.4 million to 2.4 million.
- Working with the city to develop a reclaimed water distribution system that can be used for irrigation and lawn maintenance purposes during dry weather.
- Adding an odor control system for lift stations that has all but eliminated any odor complaints from the community.
- Working with the city's consulting engineers to develop alternatives to discharges to Terra Ceia Bay, to avert any potential environmental damage. Through this partnership with the city engineers and other government agencies, an aqua storage and recovery well was constructed, permitted, and placed into operation in October of 2017.
- Donating to community causes and organizations, including the city’s annual employee appreciation party, and being a contributing sponsor of the Manatee County Fair.
Commitment to Safety
In the process, the plant has helped improve the quality of discharges, preserving endangered shellfish beds and improving performance to a 99.9 percent environmental compliance rate. Just as important, the plant has not recorded a single safety incident in the time that Veolia has been on site.
“They’ve been here 27 years now and they’ve not had issues in that 27 years, so that’s a phenomenal record,” said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant. “Veolia is really a community partner.”