An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Altamonte Springs takes steps to make wastewater drinkable

The view from the top of Altamonte Springs’ wastewater plant is of brown water gushing into open tanks.

On the ground and a short walk away, city manager Frank Martz stood during a recent morning in a warehouse of laboratory-like gear. From a black hose, he filled a tall glass with water purified from that torrent of incoming sewage.

He drank it all in unbroken slugs.

Martz is energetically optimistic that his moment of refreshment previewed the future of potable water.

“It’s cleaner than drinking water,” Martz said of the output from a home-grown treatment system more evolutionary than any other in Central Florida and among the most advanced in the world, according to an international competition this year.

The concept of recycling sewage into potable water has been nudged along for decades. Yet today, only one U.S. city does it: Big Spring, Texas, which was motivated by severe drought.

California and Arizona are among other states actively considering the option.

In Florida, converting wastewater into drinking water, while perhaps years away, is now getting a hard look by a group of utility operators, academics, state officials and others.

The Potable Reuse Commission is probing the economics, legalities, technology and public perception of what has been derided in past years as “toilet-to-tap.”

Watershed groups have a positive impact on local water quality, study finds

Economists have found that in the United States, watershed groups have had a positive impact on their local water quality.

A new published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the first empirical evidence that nonprofit organizations can provide public goods, said Christian Langpap, an Oregon State University economist and study co-author with Laura Grant, an assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College.

In economics, a public good is a commodity or service that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from using, and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others. For these reasons, public goods can't be provided for profit and nonprofits can play an important role.

"Environmental nonprofit groups are assumed to provide public goods," said Langpap, an associate professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. "But until now that assumption has never been tested empirically. We determined that the presence of water groups in a watershed resulted in improved water quality and higher proportions of swimmable and fishable water bodies."

The presence and activity of watershed groups can impact water quality in various ways, including oversight and monitoring, direct actions such as organizing volunteers for cleanups or restoration, and indirect actions like advocacy and education.

The researchers' analysis combined data on water quality and watershed groups for 2,150 watersheds in the continental United States from 1996 to 2008. The number of watershed groups across the lower 48 tripled during this period, from 500 to 1,500.

New lawn watering rules go into effect on Nov. 4th

Starting November 4, 2018, the following lawn watering rules will be in effect for Seminole County:

  • No watering is allowed between 10 a.m. - 4p.m. on any day of the week.
  • Residents with odd street addresses water on Saturday.
  • Residents with even street addresses water on Sunday.
  • Reclaimed water customers will follow the daylight saving time schedule of twice a week year round.
  • Non-Residential customers irrigate on Tuesdays unless using reclaimed water, then they may water twice a week.


For more information on ways to save money and water, please visit and click on Water Conservation on the left hand menu, or call (407)665-2121.