Aerial of Wastewater Treatment Plant

Savings to City and Savings to Environment

New Use of Common Elements at Wastewater Treatment Plant

Who would have guessed that a blend of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar could save the taxpayer's of the City of St. Augustine money and help the environment at the same time? But that’s what the recent side-by-side tests show.

According to George Lomax, Manager of the Treatment Plants, “this is the first wastewater treatment plant in the State of Florida and is probably the first in the nation to switch from chlorine/bisulfate to peracetic acid (PAA) as its primary disinfectant on a wastewater treatment plant with a five million gallon capacity.

Sewage drains throughout the city and finally empties into the wastewater treatment plant at 501 Riberia St. where it’s treated before being emptied into the Matanzas River.

Due to structures and equipment previously installed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Lomax was prepared to perform a trial test in real time using peracetic acid (mixture of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar) and the existing chlorination/dechlorination system in another. This way the results were able to be compared side-by-side in real time so that the results could be accurately compared.

The evaluation criteria were as follows: disinfection performances; aquatic toxicity; disinfection byproducts; chemical consumption and sustainability. The end result of the test was that the disinfection byproducts (DBPs) were non-existent with the PPA mixture than with the chlorination mixture which has been used for so many years.

As for when the city is going to begin using the PPA procedure, George said, “it will take some time to install the necessary equipment but we should get started by about June 1.” The program will be a 28% a year savings on the chemicals used as a disinfectant.

The story was a hit in Aprils of the Florida Water Resources Journal, a technical publication for the water treatment and wastewater treatment collection industry, with the headline that stated “Old City, New Ideas: Peracetic Acid in Wastewater Disinfection at St. Augustine.” For those interested in reading about the trial tests in more technical terms, the article can be found on the magazine’s Web site at

Lomax said “it's not often that decisions that make good business sense also help the environment.  This is one of those cases.” For more information on the process contact George Lomax at 825.1045.

<Return Home