history

SOUTH MARTIN REGIONAL UTILITY has its roots in the first Hobe Sound water supply & pumping plant, established in the very early 1900’s to serve Jupiter Island & the oldest Hobe Sound neighborhoods in the immediate area of the current SMRU South Water Plant on what is now Water Street, Hobe Sound.  The wellfield just west of this location provided then, as now, a very high quality source of drinking water unique to its surroundings.  In a 1913 account of the “Village of Hobe Sound,” this high sand ridge wellfield was described as a “natural reservoir which seems to conserve and hold the water like a sponge.” 

 

The water standpipe that is seen below in the sepia picture has been standing for just over 100 years.  It was once painted (circa 1923) with the words "Picture City," in anticipation of the Hobe Sound area becoming the new Hollywood of the East, and hinting at cinema's interest to take advantage of the natural beauty of our town.  The Great Depression put an end to those dreams.


The original service area for the first water system included the Gomez neighborhoods, Banner Lake, Zeus Park and portions of Jupiter Island.  Some of these neighborhoods have pipe that is still in service today and is functioning as well as anything that would replace it.   

 

In 1933, the Hobe Sound Company was formed by Joseph Reed and included acquisition of the water company, its facilities and property, which soon became known as the HOBE SOUND WATER COMPANY.  This small utility was instrumental not only in the growth of Jupiter Island but also along the Bridge Road and Dixie Highway corridors through 1998.

 

HYDRATECH UTILITIES

The North Water system currently serving Hobe Sound was originally owned and operated by W.J. Leonard who owned and lived in the house at the corner of Eagle and Osprey Streets just west of where SMRU’s North Water Treatment Plant is located today.  This system was a very small operation servicing the local neighborhood and consisted of 3 to 4, 2" water wells and a hydropneumatic tank.  

In 1968, the Keathley family moved to Hobe Sound and began their many years of work in the community.  Their start was with a purchase of 50 lots in Ridgeway Subdivision.  To serve their plans for expansion, they purchased the water plant from W.J. Leonard and began design and construction of the wastewater treatment facility, along with their engineer, Gerald Bobo, P.E.  The Keathley’s incorporated their business with the name Hydratech Utilities in 1976.  

Hydratech served the water and sewer needs while the Keathley family developed many of the communities that comprise northern Hobe Sound.  Many of the beautiful communities Hobe Sound has become renowned for were enabled with water made available by Hydratech.  Cambridge and the single family homes of Heritage Ridge, The Preserve and golf course communities of the Seabranch area, Gomez and the surrounding neighborhoods were all served through expansion and development of Hydratech's facilities and Keathley Family endeavors.  By the end of the 1990's the sewer facility and water system reached from Bridge Road to the northern boundary of Hobe Sound.

South Martin Regional Utility Today

The Hobe Sound Water Company and Hydratech Utilities were each purchased separately by the Town of Jupiter Island and on September 2, 1998 were joined together under the management of the new entity - South Martin Regional Utility.  

The South Water Plant was expanded to utilize an alternative water source, the Floridan aquifer (a very deep well), and reverse osmosis plant, constructed between 2001 & 2002.  The plant was dedicated on February 28, 2003.  This expansion guaranteed a reliable water source to all customers and provided greater operational flexibility to optimize use of the shallow wellfields.  
 

In early 2012, SMRU’s Nanofiltration Plant was constructed at its North Water Treatment Plant site, a state of the art membrane technology, intended to improve the taste, odor, hardness and color of the water so that it matches the quality of the water in SMRU’s south system.


SMRU recognizes the accomplishments of former administrators, staff and Board of Director members and the many years of service that they have given to the citizens of Hobe Sound.  The present administration wishes to build upon their lasting accomplishments for the Utility's future.

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