City Celebrates Unique Ion Exchange Water Treatment Plant

City of Bunnell hosts ribbon cutting for first facility of its kind in the world

On Wednesday, December 9, the City of Bunnell, Florida hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a newly commissioned, 1-million-gallon-per day water treatment plant that features the first treatment process of its kind in the world.

Approximately 50 people— including city officials, operational staff, residents and equipment manufacturers—attended the event, toured the facility and learned about the unique co-removal ion exchange process. The system uses both softening and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) resins in the same contactor, which simultaneously removes both hardness and total organic carbon (TOC) from the city’s groundwater supply. The end result is better-tasting, higher-quality drinking water that is less likely to cause issues with water heaters, plumbing and other household appliances. “Several residents who attended the grand opening commented that the water quality was the best they have ever tasted,” said Mitch Chiavaroli, PE, director of engineering with McKim & Creed.

“It’s not about the bricks and mortar…it’s the people who make the difference,” said Tib Tiblier, director of public works and engineering for the City of Bunnell. Ron Cook, lead operator at the facility, wrote in an email, ““I’m very proud and honored to work for the people of this great community, and we can now provide them a better life-necessary product.”

City of Bunnell director of public works Bill Green added, “The residents of Bunnell have been very patient over the years in anticipation of the new water plant coming online and producing a quality water. It was a wonderful day for the people of Bunnell.”

McKim & Creed, Inc. served as the engineer of record, working closely with the City of Bunnell Public Works and Engineering staff; the equipment manufacturer, IXOM; and the contractor, TLC Diversified, to plan, design, test and build a facility that meets the city’s needs and regulatory requirements.

The City of Bunnell obtained a $1.5 million Rural Development Grant from the USDA that helped fund the $4.8-million construction cost of the ion exchange water treatment plant. The facility came online in October.