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A Florida Water Services Corporation wastewater treatment facility in Lehigh Acres, Fla., just outside of Fort Myers, has won the state's top award for operational excellence. The Earl B. Phelps Award was presented by the Florida Water Environment Association and given to the plant, which was the first in Florida to use a new state-of-the- art technology called ZeeWeed.
The process filters wastewater through a membrane with pores that are 1/100 the size of a human hair, without the use of any chemicals. Unlike the conventional system of pushing sewage through filters, the ZeeWeed technology uses low vacuum. Eight-foot-high racks containing more than 1,000 spaghetti-like membranes are dropped into a sludge tank. The vacuum pulls wastewater through the membranes, which remove contaminants. The water is then reclaimed for irrigation of the Admiral Lehigh Golf Course.
The award, the most recognized award in Florida in the field of wastewater treatment, was given to the facility and its lead operator, Beverly Stephenson, after a record-keeping review and an on-site inspection.
Florida Water Services (http://www.florida-water.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE (NYSE: ALE)(http://www.allete.com), has more than 30 years' experience serving Florida citizens and communities, providing the treatment and distribution of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. More than 500,000 Floridians in 27 Florida counties rely on Florida Water Services. Florida Water's parent company, ALLETE Water Services, is also the holding company for Heater Utilities, North Carolina's largest investor-owned water and wastewater company; Georgia Water Services; U.S. Maintenance and Management; Instrumentation Services Inc.; and Americas' Water Services Corporation.
ALLETE is a multi-services company with corporate headquarters in Duluth, Minn. Holdings include the second largest wholesale automobile auction network in North America; the leading provider of independent auto dealer inventory financing; the largest investor-owned water utilities in Florida and North Carolina; significant real estate holdings in Florida; and a low-cost electric utility that serves some of the largest industrial customers in the United States.