PORT CHARLOTTE — Don’t take your water and sewer system for granted. Take one of the six upcoming educational facility tours offered by Charlotte County Utilities Department beginning Jan. 15 through May 9.

The first tour is from 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 15 at the West Port Water Reclamation Facility, 15005 Cattle Dock Point Road in West County.

Water reclamation is another way of saying sewage treatment, county Capital Projects Director Travis Mortimer once said.

“I really enjoy the plant tours,” said the utilities departments public information officer Caroline Wannall. “Most people do not think twice about where the water goes when they flush their toilet or where the water comes from when they turn on the faucet. After attending a plant tour you get a new perspective of water.”

Many people become interested in their water supply and disposal once they join a homeowner’s association, Wannall said. The department began the tours to give people a behind-the-scenes view of the whole process.

During the tour, attendees can observe treatment plant operators in action, and learn about the transport, processing and disposal of what they call biosolids.

Tour capacity is limited so reserve seats in advance by emailing Wannall at caroline.wan nall@charlottecountyfl.gov or call 941-764-4304.

Much of Charlotte County’s water comes from the Peace River, but it must be cleaned up before it can be sent to a faucet. The sewage gets sent back to the county for treatment. After processing, some of the treated waste water is used for irrigation of large facilities such as golf courses or larger subdivisions.

County commissioners are planning sizeable rate hikes for water and sewer, although those rates have not been finalized. The increases are required, they said, due to the number of large expansion projects planned for the near future. The system also is aging, and some of the old pipes and stations have to be replaced.

Other tours:

• Thursday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m.-noon, Burnt Store Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment and Reclamation Facility, 17430 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda.

• Thursday, Feb. 21, 9 -11 a.m., Rotonda Water Reclamation Facility, 3740 Kendall Road, Rotonda West, West County.

• Tuesday, March 19, 10 a.m.-noon., West Port Water Reclamation Facility, 15005 Cattle Dock Point Road in West County.

• Thursday, April 25, 9-11 a.m., Rotonda Water Reclamation Facility, 3740 Kendall Road, Rotonda West, West County.

• Thursday, May 9, 9 a.m.-noon, Burnt Store Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment and Reclamation Facility, 17430 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda.

Email:ecalvert@sun-herald.com

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