Partnership recycles 10 billion gallons of reclaimed water
Gulf Power’s Plant Crist has reclaimed 10 billion gallons since the ECUA project went into operation in 2010.

Gulf Power’s Plant Crist in Pensacola recently passed the 10-billion-gallon milestone for the use of reclaimed water from the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s Central Water Reclamation Facility.

The electric-generating plant uses the advanced-treated wastewater as a coolant during electricity production and to run the scrubber system that reduces air emissions. And, by using the reclaimed water from the nearby facility, Gulf Power avoids taking millions of gallons of water out of the Escambia River and conserves groundwater.

“This shows how two different utilities can work together to benefit all their customers and the environment,” said Natalie Smith, Gulf Power spokesperson. “With our scrubber system, we are providing cleaner electricity for our customers in Northwest Florida, and this partnership benefits Northwest Florida with cleaner air — and cleaner water.”

In addition, Gulf Power has recycled more than 350,000 tons of gypsum that is produced by the scrubber process as it cleans emissions from Plant Crist. Gypsum can be used to produce wallboard, cement and other purposes.

Gulf Power proposed the project to ECUA soon after starting construction on the scrubber system, which went online in December 2009.

The advanced ECUA facility was built to replace the Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was located in downtown Pensacola, across the street from the then-planned Community Maritime Park. State regulations would only permit the new wastewater treatment facility if it would not discharge water into Escambia Bay — even though the water was to receive a much higher level of treatment.

ECUA began piping water from the CWRF to Plant Crist in 2010. Combined with the CWRF’s internal reuse and the use of onsite sprayfields, Gulf Power and International Paper’s use of the reclaimed water qualifies the new facility as a zero-discharge plant.

“The ECUA and Gulf Power partnership has proven to be beneficial for both utilities and the environment,” said Don Palmer, director of water reclamation for ECUA. “Together we have met some unique milestones in wastewater treatment and effluent reuse, and I expect that our partnership will continue to be a positive collaboration.”

Gulf Power’s partnership with ECUA won the Sustainable Florida Award in 2010. A year later, Gulf Power won the 2011 Industry Excellence Award from the Southeastern Electric Exchange, which includes 20 major utilities in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic from Texas to Maryland and Virginia. In 2012, the project also was awarded the 2012 York Reuse Award from the Florida Water Environment Association.

Photo Captions: Gulf Power’s Plant Crist has reclaimed 10 billion gallons since the ECUA project went into operation in 2010.

Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 436,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electric service while strengthening our communities. Visit or on the company’s Facebook page, “Gulf Power Company.” News information can be found at