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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet
Cheryl Halle

FAU and City of Dania Beach Complete ‘Green’ Water Treatment Plant

Project Produced the First LEED® Gold Certified Nanofiltration Facility in the World

BOCA RATON, FL (April 17, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University faculty and student researchers within the College of Engineering and Computer Science, along with officials from CDM Smith and the City of Dania Beach, have completed an upgrade of the Dania Beach Nanofiltration Facility, which is the first water treatment plant in the world to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“FAU faculty and students contributed to the project by conducting research on increasing the recovery of waste concentrate,” said Frederick Bloetscher, Ph.D., P.E., associate professor in the department of civil, environmental and geomatics engineering within FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “This collaboration is a great example of how industry may harness the power of student and faculty intellectual capital for projects that positively impact the economy and environment of our region.” 

Faced with continuing growth and redevelopment, an aging lime softening water treatment plant, and an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, the City of Dania Beach sought to design-build a new nanofiltration/reverse osmosis membrane process expansion to the existing lime softening treatment plant.  Nanofiltration is a membrane separation process that removes a range of inorganic and organic substances from solution in a liquid. The state-of-the-art plant will serve the City’s future potable water demands and improve water quality and color.  In addition, this plant achieves the City’s vision for environmental sustainability though green initiatives including energy performance equipment; construction materials with high recycled content; and lesser water use on site through xeriscaping and low-flow fixtures.

The resulting innovative membrane system design entails a two-stage nanofiltration membrane system with convertible third and fourth-stage reverse osmosis units to meet the project technical challenges.  These challenges included providing the operational flexibility to treat variable quality raw water sources, achieving high system recovery, and minimizing raw water consumption and concentrate disposal costs. The convertible third stage either operates as a single stage allowing 91 to 92 percent recovery to meet concentrate disposal restrictions, or reconfigures to a third and fourth stage 2:1 array to maximize system recovery and further reduce operating costs.  The pilot testing results, which showed up to 95 percent recovery was achievable, was featured in the International Water Association Journal.  The nanofiltration/reverse osmosis system provides the flexibility to achieve product water quality goals with variable raw water quality from both the City’s wellfield and the Broward County wellfield.

Two FAU civil, environmental and geomatics senior student groups submitted conceptual designs as their capstone project and spent significant time analyzing the process, site and design issues. These students’ designs were used by CDM Smith and the City of Dania Beach to fully develop the plant concepts, including the idea for LEED certification.

“I immediately agreed that the City should pursue LEED certification as a means to show leadership,” said Dominic Orlando, public services director for the City of Dania Beach. “We are pleased that we have been able to achieve the Gold-level of certification with this facility.” 

The $9.1 million plant was completed in 24 months from contact award, including migration of the existing lime softening electrical system to the new facility.  The facility has already won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award for sustainable infrastructure, and an engineering design award.  The plant was funded with State Revolving Fund loans and a $2.55 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act principal forgiveness loan, both of which reduce costs to local residents.

For more information, contact Frederick Bloetscher at 239-250-2423 or



About FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science:
Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science is committed to providing accessible and responsive programs of education and research recognized nationally for their high quality. Course offerings are presented on-campus, off-campus, and through distance learning in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, geomatics engineering, mechanical engineering and ocean engineering.  For more information about the college, please visit

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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