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Utility Systems Celebrates its Silver Anniversary

Monday 26 August Utility Systems Celebrates its Silver Anniversary

The City of Port St. Lucie officially acquired its utility assets on September 30, 1994 and we’ll be celebrating this silver anniversary throughout the month! We are launching a new monthly e-newsletter which will connect our customers to exclusive service information, conservation tips, and ways to save on the utility bill. For those who sign up, a winner will be chosen each week of September to receive a special 25th anniversary gift. Also look out for throwback photos on the City’s social media handles for a glimpse into all that’s happened in Utility Systems over the last 25 years.

Currently serving more than 74,000 water and 56,000 sewer customers, we are dedicated to continuing to provide our community with clean, safe utility services through exceptional customer support and communication.

A Brief History

The City of Port St. Lucie Utility Systems Department has been a leader in environmental stewardship since it acquired ownership of the utility in 1994. The City had a vision for providing exceptional municipal service to the community and developed a plan of action to expand the once limited water and sanitary sewer utility services.  

General Development Corporation (GDC) and its subsidiary, General Development Utilities (GDU), developed the City of Port St. Lucie in the early 1960s. The City was advertised as fine living with “wide paved streets, electricity and telephone.” For just $10 down and $10 a month, you could purchase an 80 ft. by 125 ft. residential property in this sub-tropical paradise. 

Port St. Lucie was originally a planned development community with small water and wastewater treatment facilities built solely to provide services to homes and commercial buildings GDC was selling at the time. GDU struggled to keep pace with service demands due to its limited maintenance program and limited utility service areas. By the early 1980s, GDC had platted more than 80,000 1/4–acre lots within Port St. Lucie’s 80 square miles to be served by private wells and septic systems.

GDC and GDU filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and St. Lucie County acquired the utility assets through the “quick take” legal process. Shortly after, they too struggled due to a limited maintenance program and lack of capital improvements. The City’s vision for the community prompted it to initiate negotiations with the County in 1993 that led to the City acquiring most of the County’s utility assets in 1994.  At that time, the Utility was serving just over 17,000 water and 10,000 sewer customers.

Our Future

Port St. Lucie Utility Systems stands for our slogan, “Connected to the Community,” by being dedicated environmental stewardship leaders who are committed to protecting our precious natural water resources.

The Water Quality Storage and Restoration Project located at McCarty Ranch Extension will keep nearly 9 billion gallons of excess freshwater from entering the North Fork of the St. Lucie River once complete. This project is also the precursor to this City’s future alternative water supply. A proposed future surface water treatment plant will be built on this property to treat the water being pumped from the C-23 Canal to drinking water standards. This plant will ensure that Port St. Lucie is able to meet the water needs of this growing city for generations to come.

The ongoing Sewer Expansion Program ensures that failing septic systems will be taken out of service to avoid further contamination to the shallow water supply, and that newly constructed homes and businesses would be required to connect to City sewer. Since its inception, more than 8,000 septic systems have been converted to City sewer and nearly 24,000 new grinder systems have been installed. The City’s low-pressure wastewater collection system has grown to be the largest of its kind in nation and quite possibly, the world. The innovative program has also become a model for other utilities across the globe. 

For more information, contact:
Jenny Tomes
Utility Marketing and Digital Video Coordinator
(772) 871-5131
jtomes@cityofpsl.com  

 

Group photo of lift station employees

General Development Corporation (GDC) ad

Group photo of 3 employees standing in front of Northport Wastewater Treatment Plant sign Group photo of Customer Service employees

Water Quality Storage and Restoration Project Groundbreaking Ceremony, December 2017

Septic to City sewer conversion