FDEP partners with local governments to fund water projects
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has selected three projects that will benefit from more than $3 million in state grant funding to assist governments with the protection and restoration of Florida’s waterbodies. The selected projects are designed to reduce between 68 and 98 percent of phosphorus and between 20 and 95 percent of nitrogen from entering Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Lake Yale and the Orange River. Reducing excessive nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, in the lakes and rivers in these watersheds will improve the health and function of these aquatic systems.
This is part of an annual appropriation by the state legislature which provides grant funding for the implementation of best management practices, such as regional stormwater treatment facilities, designed to reduce pollutant loads to impaired waters from urban stormwater discharges.
Florida is a national leader in tackling the challenging problem of stormwater runoff pollution. As one of the first states in the nation to implement a stormwater management program starting in the 1970s, it is also one of the first states in the nation to add a regulatory approach to traditionally unregulated agricultural and urban stormwater sources in its restoration program.
These grant funds are designated for three watersheds that are considered a high priority for restoration. Specifically, the projects selected will continue the Department’s partnership with local efforts to restore the Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Lake Yale and the Orange River. The funds will be used to implement structures, such as stormwater ponds, and to implement best management practices to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus going into the waterbodies.
In addition to the more than $3 million state funds, more than $6.5 million will be contributed by the communities themselves, far exceeding the 50 percent match required. The investment demonstrates local communities’ desire to improve water quality in Florida.
Below are the details for the projects receiving nearly $10 million in Department grants and local government funds:
Revitalize Impaired Waters for Charlotte Harbor East and West Spring Lakes Phase I, Charlotte County
Amount Funded: $599,670 with matching funds of $3,636,800 for a total project cost of $4,236,470.
Overview: Phase I of the project will construct the gravity sewer portion of the central wastewater service to 492 properties in order to replace inadequate Onsite Sewer Treatment Disposal Systems. The anticipated pollutant load reductions as a result of this project are as follows: 93% reduction in Total Phosphorus or 3423 lb/year reduction, 85% reduction in Total Nitrogen or 8739.5 lbs/yr, and 86% reduction in Biochemical Oxygen Demand or 35,686.4 lb/yr. Upon completion of the best management practices, additional and on-going testing will be performed comparing inflows and outflows from the newly restored/modified grassy swales and former Systems sites at locations tested prior to construction.
Lake Yale Subbasin 4 Stormwater Reuse Project, City of Umatilla
Amount Funded: $1,354,000 with matching funds of $1,551,000 for a total project cost of $2,905,000.
Overview: This project will include the installation of stormwater collection and conveyance infrastructure systems within the Lake Yale Subbasin 4, as well as a retrofit of the City’s existing wastewater treatment facility rapid infiltration basins (currently no longer in service) into a stormwater wet detention pond that will provide treatment prior to discharging into the wetland system. Sampling stations will be installed on the influent and effluent ends of the pond to assist in monitoring nutrient removal. The pond will also be fitted with a horizontal well from which water will be pumped as needed to the City’s wastewater treatment facility for further treatment to reuse water quality standards via an existing sand filter and chlorine contact basin (currently no longer in service). Stormwater will be treated via wet detention prior to discharge to Lake Yale or be treated to reclaimed quality standards at the facility to supplement the City’s reclaimed water system. It is anticipated that there will be a minimum Total Phosphorus reduction of 68.5% or 116.403 lbs/yr. Aquifer Benefit and Storage for Orange River Basin (ABSORB), East County Water Control District – Lehigh Acres.
Amount Funded: $1,224,800 with matching funds of $1,390,500 for a total project cost of $2,615,300.
Overview: This project will increase canal control elevations and local groundwater levels by constructing 17 minor and 12 intermediate sized weirs within an approximately ten square mile area in southwest Lehigh Acres. This work effort will provide additional water quality treatment for stormwater runoff, flood attenuation and increase groundwater recharge, while reducing stormwater discharges by 1000 acre-ft per year to the Caloosahatchee River. From preliminary evaluation, the ABSORB project will result in a reduction of 20.14% Total Phosphorous or 87 lb/yr and 20% Total Nitrogen or 896 lb/yr in stormwater discharges from the project area.