Photo courtesy City of Boynton Beach
Photo courtesy City of Boynton Beach

The Boynton Beach Ion Exchange Resin Plant and East Water Treatment Upgrades project in Florida is the recent recipient of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Envision® Bronze award. This is the first water treatment plant project in Florida to earn an Envision award for sustainable infrastructure. The Envision system rates infrastructure projects across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts.

The Boynton Beach East Water Treatment Plant processes 24 million gallons of water per day a with a state-of-the-art water pre-treatment system that removes organic compounds and color from the water while reducing the use of chemicals. Other plant improvements include filter valve replacements, replacement of the plant’s high service pumps with premium efficiency pumps and motors, improved stormwater management, modifications to the plant’s disinfection system and upgraded security features, as well as a new three million gallon finished water storage tank with a new re-pump station.

The $30.8 million dollar project was managed locally by CDM Smith of Boca Raton, Florida. CDM Smith worked in close collaboration with the City of Boynton Beach along with Carollo Design Build Group, a major subcontractor, and a number of other firms including The Merchant Strategy; PCL; AW Architects, Inc.; Tierra South Florida Inc.; Engenuity Group, Inc.; Cooper Construction Management & Consulting, Inc.; and DCR Engineering Services, Inc.

“The upgraded plant ensures that we will meet the growing demands of our water service area while reducing energy use and operating costs. This award-winning project contributes to our vision of making the City of Boynton Beach a leader in sustainability and resilience,” said Colin Groff, Assistant City Manager of the City of Boynton Beach.

As a collaborative effort between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The ISI Envision system measures sustainable infrastructure in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.

Key sustainable accomplishments of the Boynton Beach East Water Treatment Plant project include:

Quality of Life: This project will support the potable water needs of the growing population and business community in Boynton Beach and will ensure that the long-term potable water supply for the service area is protected and delivered more reliably. The upgraded plant meets the community’s need to diversify water sources to reduce dependence on the surficial aquifer. It also protects the local environment and drinking water supply by avoiding saltwater intrusion.

Also included in the project is a public art installation designed to create a connection between visitors to the facility and the plant itself. This art installation includes a pavilion with water fountain for visitors to the park and a pixelated glass mural illuminated by LED light fixtures programmed to suggest the movement of water.

Leadership: The project owner (City of Boynton Beach) and the firms involved in this project have demonstrated commitments to the principles of sustainability and sustainable performance improvement. The City of Boynton Beach has developed a Climate Action Plan and has implemented a Green Task Force responsible for overseeing the environmental needs of the community. The mayor of Boynton Beach is also a signatory to the Mayor’s Climate Action Pledge, making the city a key partner in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.

The project team utilized the Progressive Design-Build (PDB) delivery method for this project, which enhanced collaboration between the design and construction teams and reduced conflicting design elements to optimize project delivery. Most design issues were resolved prior to construction, which minimized the number of change orders during the construction process.

Natural World: The Boynton Beach plant was designed to eliminate any runoff from the site, which prevents pollutants from contaminating surface and groundwater resources. Construction specifications included best management practices for erosion and turbidity control. The plant has comprehensive plans for spill and leak prevention, and the city monitors groundwater on a continuous basis and provides monthly monitoring reports.

The project team worked with state and local agencies, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, to identify wildlife habitats on and around the project site, and mitigate adverse impacts on priority species (including gopher tortoises) by relocating them to other suitable habitats. The team also implemented a removal program of all invasive tree and brush species within a 1.8 acre preserve located on the site.

“The City of Boynton Beach Ion Exchange Resin Plant and East Water Treatment Plant Upgrades project is a great example of sustainable infrastructure that will serve the needs of this growing community for decades to come, without harming the local environment or the community’s local character,” said ISI President and CEO John Stanton. “ISI is pleased to present this project with the Envision Bronze award for sustainable infrastructure.”

To learn more about the City of Boynton Beach’s Ion Exchange Resin Plant and East Water Treatment Plant Upgrades project, please visit