ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - We all know reclaimed water is not drinkable, but one Central Florida city is making it possible through an innovative project that could potentially get results for cities dealing with a water crisis.
The city of Altamonte Springs was recently named the best in the world among cities in 45 countries for its PureALTA water treatment project, a technology that could help cities across the nation and globally.
"PureALTA is about the future and it's about our kids. We were recognized as the most innovative water project and we beat 45 other countries, including China," City Manager Frank Martz said.
Martz said the project is so unique that people are traveling from other places to learn about it.
"There are cities that have traveled here that are saying to us, 'We're gonna have a future water crisis. If there's a way to create new water and reuse the water, we'd like to be a part of that,'" Martz said.
Reclaimed water is used for irrigation systems and other purposes, such as flushing toilets. The city of Altamonte Springs is now a pioneer in reusing that water for drinking.
"Cleaning it through filtration and through ozonation and through radiation to make sure that everything in that water has been cleaned out. It's killed and filtered and then the water comes out of a tap and we drink the water," Martz said.
He said the project could be a solution to water crises in cities such as Flint, Michigan.
"There are a lot of towns, not only in Flint, Michigan, but in the north and in the Midwest, where there are drought conditions, where there have been issues with fertilizer contamination that has been caused by the use of manure, for example, and those are cities that can benefit from this technology," Martz said.
The city is also making a difference in other ways.
City officials are working with Seminole County Public Schools and have developed the Altamonte Springs Science Incubator program, which allows middle and high school students to go on-site and get hands-on experience as part of their curriculum.
"It's important to be able to show children, not only what new technologies are like and how they're gonna impact those children's futures, but also show them what job opportunities there are. They take that data back to class, to their classroom, and then they study it Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, all blended together," Martz said. "They don't miss a beat."
Students are on-site Mondays and Tuesdays as part of their science, math and computer classes.
Through the program, they can also apply for scholarships and internships.
Altamonte Springs was recently ranked in the top three at the International Water Association Project Innovation Awards in Tokyo.
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