Salt water turned fresh: No water restrictions Highland Beach - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Salt water turned fresh: No water restrictions in Highland Beach

HIGHLAND BEACH, FL (WFLX) - While West Palm Beach is under stringent water restrictions, another Palm Beach County town is doing whatever they'd like to keep their town green because of a high tech system.

The Town of Highland Beach uses reverse osmosis to make salt water drinkable.

Silvio Blaskovic lives in the town and it doesn't matter what time of the day it is or what day it is, he does whatever he wants to keep his yard looking nice. "I do it two times because that's adequate for me," Blaskovic said. "I could do more if I want to."

Because of the drought, the people of West Palm Beach don't have that option. "Oh, I wouldn't like it if I had to do that," Blaskovic added.

The reason he doesn't have to live by those restrictions is because his town invested in a high tech water treatment facility that changes salt water to drinking water. 

"We're taking water out of the Floridan aquifer which is 1,200 feet deep underground," Water facility superintendent, Joe Sterlicchi said. "From there we filter the water out with high pressure, which removes 96 to 97 percent of the salt and makes it drinkable."

They call the process reverse osmosis. The town says they have three wells and treat four million gallons of water a day, but only 3 million of it becomes drinking water.

In a large boiler room they say there are 72 vessels filled with 7 membranes or filters per vessel which gets the salt out of the water. 

"I think it's the wave of the future," Sterlicchi said. "More and more cities are going to have with this type of treatment to meet demand in the future and the present as it turns out."

The town says when they first get the water from underground it's about as salty as the water in the intercoastal.  

To use this alternative method to get water cost the Town of Highland Beach about $12 Million in order to build and set up the facility seven years ago, Sterlicchi said.

"It's expensive initially," he said. "But long term this plant will save the town a lot of money."

Blaskovic hopes that saves a lot of headaches for him in the future as well.

"I think it's a good investment you know then you have a little easier life," Blaskovic added.

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