When the City of Bunnell commemorated the opening of its new water and sewer facility on Dec. 9, 2015, FlaglerLive.com heralded, “No more water-boiling alerts. No more weird-looking, cloudy-looking water, or on occasion strange smelling water. No more third-world water and sewer treatment for Bunnell.” The new 0.999-mgd water treatment facility features the first-ever municipal application of the Orica MICo (MIEX® Co-removal) ion exchange process, and was designed, permitted and constructed to remove both organics and hardness with cationic and anionic resins in a common reactor vessel.
The new ion exchange process brings the city into compliance with state regulations regarding total trihalomethane (TTHM) maximum contaminant levels (MCL), produces softer water that prolongs appliance and plumbing fixture life, addresses customer water-quality concerns, maximizes the amount of source water for potable use, and is projected to meet the finished water demands of the city through 2030. Funding for the $4.83-million project included a $1.48 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) grant, a $2.8 million USDA RD loan, and a $1 million drinking water state revolving fund (SRF). The drinking water SRF is a low-interest loan from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and is typically issued to small, financially disadvantaged communities with water quality regulatory issues. The Ion Exchange Water Treatment Plant was named by the Florida Chapter of APWA as the 2016 Project of the Year in the environmental projects under $5 million category.