Florida Keys begins implementing upgrades to world class drinking water system

by | Jan 12, 2023

  • Headquartered in Key West, Florida, the FKAA is the drinking water service provider for the Florida Keys
  • FKAA helps deliver approximately 20,000,000 gallons per day of high-quality drinking water to customers in the Florida Keys
  • The water system is also home to one of the first low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment systems in the world

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA), which manages and maintains the Florida Keys’ water system, announced it is embarking upon major upgrades to help ensure access to clean drinking water.

“Being as proactive as we can is the absolute right course of action when it comes to providing safe drinking water to our customers,” said Greg Veliz, Executive Director of the FKAA. “This work that will begin in Islamorada, will continue for the next two to three decades and be a legacy project that will inspire water utilities across the globe to replicate.”

Starting next month, FKAA will begin work work on Islamorada to replace approximately four miles of the original transmission main that’s 60 years old. The old 30-inch ductile water main will be replaced with a new cathodically protected 36-inch steel pipe.

Additionally, the mains at the Teatable Relief and Whale Harbor bridge crossings will be installed underwater to isolate them from high winds and storm surges.

“We’re starting with Islamorada because we’re seeing the effects of aggressive soils and subterranean tidal flows that submerge and expose the pipeline to corrosive conditions,” added Veliz. “After we complete our work in Islamorada, we plan to begin replacing a portion of the Key West transmission line, then Plantation Key, and go from there until the entire 130-mile system is upgraded with new steel pipes.”

The Islamorada Transmission Line Replacement Project will cost approximately $42 million, with $35 million being provided by state and federal grants, and the remaining $7 million being funded through a low interest loan.

The FKAA noted that it plans to apply for additional grants to help fund future upgrades to the 130-mile system.

The upgrades comes on the heels of Governor Ron DeSantis signing an executive order Tuesday doubling down on a commitment to clean water he had signed exactly four years earlier.

1 Comment

  1. Russ Fiene

    Will the cathodic protection systems include monitoring via the use of passive annodes in order to deterrmine the effectiveness of the impressed current corrosion control of the proposed cathodic system? My comment is this: How do you know if the cathodic system is working without a sacrficial annode submerged and grounded to the pipe? It’s super easy to install using 3/4″ welded bungs (installed at the time of construction) and a set of boiler annodes that have different voltages. If you inspect the annodes quarterly you can visually determine the effectiveness of the cathodic system based on the deterioration of the sacrificial annode.

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