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Project IRIS


Project IRIS is the City's reclaimed water project: In-City Reclamation Irrigation System. This system provides reclaimed water for irrigation to a number of area parks, commercial green spaces, residential lawns and landscaping. reclaimed water is a viable alternative to using drinking water for landscape irrigation.

Reclaimed water is recycled wastewater that has been highly treated, filtered and disinfected for the irrigation of landscape areas. Boca Raton's reclaimed water system delivers recycled water to customers through its own reclaimed water distribution system, completely separate from our drinking water system.

The cost of reclaimed water is less than half the cost of potable or drinking water. The two tables below indicate the costs of reclaimed water and potable/drinking water:

RECLAIMED WATER:

Commodity Charge

$0.449 per 1000 gal up to 25,000 gal. (60% of potable water - Tier 1)
$0.553 per 1000 gal over 25,000 gal up to 50,000 gal. (75% of potable water - Tier 1)
$0.669 per 1000 gal over 50,000 gal. (90% of potable water - Tier 1)
Large user agreements $0.449 per 1000 gallons

Capacity Charge  

Capacity

Fee Per Meter

...

Installation costs will vary according to the meter size the homeowner uses. If your home currently has a 1 1/2'' water meter, a 1" IRIS meter may suffice, and could save some homeowner costs. Costs for a 1" meter include $225 for the installation, payable in six bimonthly bills, a $35 permit application fee, and costs associated with the actual plumbing hook-up. These costs will vary depending on which licensed plumbing or sprinkler contractor you choose to provide the hook-up services, or if you do the hook-up yourself. Once in use, IRIS water is billed on a bimonthly basis.

Because of many varying factors, these costs will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Customer Services at (561) 393-7750 for more information.

In the past, this highly treated wastewater has been essentially 'thrown away' by discharging it into the Ocean. Yet, studies showed us that the typical Boca Raton customer poured as much as 70% of their drinking water each month onto lawns and landscaping. reclaimed water is a way to conserve a valuable resource by reducing the amount of drinking water used as irrigation, and the IRIS program offers other benefits to customers at the same time.

Reclaimed water is safe. Many safeguards are built into every water reclamation facility, and the water is tested to meet national, state and local regulatory standards. The City of Boca Raton meets or exceeds all of these regulatory standards for its production of reclaimed water. Simply put, this water cannot leave the plant until it has been fully tested for safety and water quality.

Reclaimed water is not intended for consumption, but it poses no threat to public health from accidental contact. reclaimed water is actively used in more than 1,900 locations around the country, about 400 of them here in Florida. Some communities on the western side of Florida have had a similar successful urban irrigation reclaimed water program in place for more then 20 years.

In order to get reclaimed water service, we ask customers to:

  • Verify that you have reclaimed water service available in your area (Area Map - PDF). If you think you have reclaimed water service available or have questions, call the Utility Services Department at (561) 338-7310.
     
  • Once reclaimed water service availability has been confirmed, customers must apply for a reclaimed water meter through the Customer Services Department in City Hall at 201 SW 2nd Avenue, Boca Raton, FL 33486. Customer Services can be reached at (561) 393-7750.
     
  • Once your application has been approved and a reclaimed meter has been installed, a licensed plumber or irrigation contractor must connect your irrigation system to the reclaimed water meter.
  • Please be prepared to allow authorized city employees to make periodic inspections
  • Check your water heater to be sure that it has a properly functioning relief valve to prevent build-up of pressure.
  • Please check with a licensed plumber if you have questions
  • Adjust your irrigation heads to eliminate over spraying on non-turf areas
Once your in-ground sprinkler system is officially hooked up to reclaimed water, you can irrigate any time that you wish, without having to worry about watering restrictions.

City Code, Article 2, Section 17-57(1) Application states: The provisions of this section shall apply during all periods of time in which no water use restrictions, as provided in sections 17-55 and 17-56, are in effect. The provisions of this section shall apply to all use of water for irrigation regardless of source, except:

  1. Reclaimed water may be utilized for irrigation purposes each day of the week from 5:00pm - 8:00am.
     
  2. Irrigation with reclaimed water by golf courses shall be exempt from all day of he week and time restrictions

While reclaimed water helps to conserve precious drinking water, the supply is not without a limit. We suggest that you treat it as any other resource and water wisely.

IRIS water is for irrigation and back-up fire protection. While accidental contact with IRIS water is safe, reclaimed water is not meant for drinking, cooking, bathing, swimming pools, hot tubs, pets, or indoor use.

Please treat IRIS as the valuable resource it is, and water only as much as necessary. And of course, we need to remind you of the many things that IRIS is not intended for, including:

  • Body contact recreation, such as pools or spas, hot tubs, wading pools or children playing in sprinklers
  • Connection to a dwelling unit for any purpose, including water cooled air conditioning
  • Consumption
  • Use with a hose bibb
  • Washing pets, equipment, structures (E.g., siding, roofs), driveways, or vehicles
  • Direct spray on "salad" crops (i.e., lettuce, tomatoes, berries)

If you live in an area where reclaimed water is available and you have an in-ground sprinkler system, we recommend hooking up to Project IRIS. If you do not have an in-ground sprinkler system, then you cannot hook up to IRIS until you have one installed. If you are currently watering your lawn through some means other than the City's drinking water system (e.g., canals, wells) and IRIS is available, we recommend you hook up. If you aren't sure if you live in an area where IRIS is available, feel free to call the City's Operations and Environmental Compliance Manager at (561) 338-7310.

Studies of the use of high quality reclaimed water show that it can be safely used to irrigate edible food crops. In fact, the national reuse guidelines (EPA, 1992) fully support the use of reclaimed water meeting Florida's standards as being safe for irrigation of any type of edible crop. However, Florida's reclaimed water guidelines are more stringent than the national and international guidelines. Florida's reclaimed water rules also allow for irrigation of food crops, but with one exception. Spray irrigation using reclaimed water is prohibited for crops that will not be peeled, skinned, cooked, or thermally processed before human consumption (salad crops).

Purple is the national color standard symbolizing reclaimed water.

IRIS BENEFITS EVERYONE...
by reclaiming a valuable freshwater resource and reducing our withdrawal from the aquifer that is our source of drinking water the City of Boca Raton Utility Services Department is helping ensure the sustainability of our regional water supply.

By using IRIS water instead of drinking water to irrigate, customers have already been able to make a notable impact. Since 1996, the City and our customers have saved over ten billion gallons of drinking water.

If you would like to receive more information about Project IRIS, or about other ways to conserve water, please call City's Operations and Environmental Compliance Manager at (561) 338-7310 or write to us at:

City of Boca Raton
Utility Services
1401 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

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