Okaloosa County will be celebrating the completion of an 11.6-mile reclaimed water pipeline with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 20, 2023 at 10 a.m. at the Mullet Festival site in Niceville.
The new pipeline will allow residents and businesses to use reclaimed water, or treated wastewater, to irrigate their lawns instead of having to drill more wells into the aquifer.
“We are proud of the work performed by our Water and Sewer Department and are excited for the positive environmental and economic impacts this will have for the Niceville area communities,” said Okaloosa County Board Chairman Trey Goodwin. “This is another example of the County working smarter to use resources that already exist for the betterment of the residents.”
The southern portion of the pipeline begins at the Arbennie Pritchett Water Reclamation Facility in Fort Walton Beach. It continues through the Eglin reservation with an eastern terminus near the Mullet Festival site in Niceville. It will primarily provide supplemental reclaimed water to Niceville, with Valparaiso and Eglin AFB as future possibilities.
This interagency, regional project, was led by the Okaloosa County Water and Sewer Department with funding through the Northwest Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and funding from the County using the Capital Improvement Fund. The total cost of the project was $12.8 million.
Okaloosa County began this partnership with the City of Niceville and Eglin AFB in 2014, when the three parties agreed on the concept and executed an initial agreement. Okaloosa County crews began installing the 20-inch pipeline, with its signature purple color, in 2021. Other areas of Florida have seen success in water sustainability by using reclaimed water. Some other benefits of using reclaimed water include reducing potable water use, decreasing fertilizer application, and most importantly, ensuring a sustainable and cost-effective water supply.