Miami-Dade County officials, led by Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, alongside Commissioner Raquel Regalado and Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) Director Roy Coley, have heralded the commencement of a $1.2bn upgrade initiative at the Central District Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This endeavour, a crucial component of the Department’s $8.6bn Capital Improvement Program (CIP), aims to align with the State of Florida’s Ocean Outfall Legislation (OOL).

The upgrades are poised to enhance critical processes and systems at the treatment plant, boosting reliability, reducing redundancy, and fortifying infrastructure against the challenges posed by climate change. Embracing resilient and climate-ready designs, the Department envisions setting a benchmark as a model utility of excellence in reliability, resilience, and environmental stewardship.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said: “I’m proud of the innovative strategies being developed and implemented by our Water and Sewer Department that are building a Future Ready Miami-Dade, which is critical for the wellbeing of the community and the protection of our natural resources.

“We must invest in our water and sewer infrastructure to continue offering high-quality water services to our residents now and in the future.”

Mayor Cava’s leadership has spurred an accelerated execution of essential Capital Improvement Program projects within WASD.

Notably, the department achieved a historic investment of over $599m to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure during the fiscal year 2022-2023, surpassing the landmark achievement of $557m from the previous year. Under her administration, more than $1.7bn has been allocated to vital water and sewer upgrade projects.

County Commissioner Raquel Regalado (D-7) said: “Upgrading and hardening the infrastructure here at this plant is vital to support its ability to continuously operate during severe weather and storm events, as well as building a more resilient facility to serve Miami-Dade for the future.

“With these upgrades, our Water and Sewer Department is reemphasizing its commitment to safeguard our environment and protect public health, while providing our residents high-quality services.”

Championing innovation, Mayor Levine Cava has urged water professionals to reassess, collaborate, and explore alternative approaches to establish a comprehensive water reuse strategy.

As part of the plant’s upgrades, WASD will continue implementing its industrial water reuse strategy.

Leveraging Effluent Energy Recovery Systems, treated water will be repurposed to provide cooling to buildings and energy-intensive processes at the treatment plants. This strategy is projected to increase daily water reuse from 15 million gallons to over 100 million gallons, positioning WASD as the leading utility in Florida for industrial reuse.