New Water Plant Starts in Port LaBelle


The new Port LaBelle Utility System membrane softening treatment plant started operations on Thursday, July 26.  Water production from the new plant will be limited during its testing phase.  The old treatment plant will be working alongside the new facility as the utility gradually transitions away from its old lime softening system.


The original treatment plant was built by General Development Corporation in 1972.  Over time the plant's water delivery capacity has declined from 500,000 gallons per day to approximately 350,000, resulting in serious water shortages this past spring.


The new plant can deliver 900,000 gallons of drinking water per day and is designed to produce up to 1.8 million gallons per day with additional treatment modules.  The facility located at the southwest corner of Hwy 80 and Cedarwood Parkway is expected to accommodate Port LaBelle population growth over the next two decades. 


Quality of the water produced by the new plant will be much better. Virtually all contaminants will be filtered out, including the natural organic particles that when combined with chlorine can lead to the creation of carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THM's).  This high degree of filtering allows the utility to return to the traditional chlorine method of disinfection without the risk of producing THM's.  The utility's current practice of using chloramines will be discontinued. While preventing THM's, chloramine has the side effect of creating ammonia that can cause problems for dialysis patients and homeowners with aquariums.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture helped Hendry County finance the project with a Rural Utilities Service grant of $2,286,058 and a low-interest loan of $3,689,000.  The loan and other costs of the project will be paid by utility customers through the recently increases water fees.  The utility's general capital fund contributed $850,000 to project costs. Total cost of the project will be $6,825,000. 


Encore Construction Company built the new plant under the supervision of the Fort Myers office of Tetra Tech.  Some work will continue even after the plant is in full operation.  The second of the plant's two water supply wells will undergo rehabilitation during the next month. Hendry County is also in the process of submitting a new water use permit to South Florida Water Manage District for a greater allocation of ground water from the sandstone aquifer located approximately 300 feet below the water plant.


Photos and more details of the new water plant are available at




For more information contact:


Mr. Roger Greer, PLUS Director

Tel: 863-675-5376 / Email:


Mr. Shane Parker, Hendry County Engineer

Tel: 863-675-5222 / Email:


Mr. Ron Zimmerly, Hendry County Grants & Special Projects

Tel: 863-675-5264 / Email:


Mr. Danny Nelson, TetraTech

239.277.5155 / Cell: 239.438.2108 / Email:


Dr. John Capece, PLUS Advisory Board

Tel: 863-674-5727 / Cell: 863-673-1289 / Email: John Capece