Dedicated to the protection of birds, other animals, and their habitats through education and activism
Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170; president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org
In Marion County, up to 1.5 million gallons a day of treated
wastewater is discharged to a remote area where it soaks into the
ground. The problem: the disposal site is near Silver Springs and
contributes to high nitrogen levels and impaired water quality at the
historically crystalline springs.
Soon, work will be under way to upgrade the facility so that the
wastewater will be treated to “reclaimed effluent standards” before it
is pumped to two golf courses where it will keep the grass lush and
green while locating the reclaimed water further from the springs.
“By moving the wastewater discharges away from Silver Springs and
allowing the golf course grass to absorb much of the remaining
nitrogen, you’re preventing up to 40,000 pounds of nitrogen from
entering the aquifer every year,” says Casey Fitzgerald, Director of
the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Springs Protection
Initiative. “The Marion County project will also offset the current use
of groundwater for irrigation of two golf courses, thereby reducing
water withdrawal impacts on the aquifer and enhancing spring flow.
You’re getting multiple benefits simultaneously.”
The Marion County Silver Springs Shores Reuse Project is one of 23
projects selected for funding in fiscal year 2013–2014 through the
District’s cooperative funding program. The diverse array of projects
includes reclaimed water and water conservation projects, springshed
nutrient-reduction projects, and enhancements to wastewater treatment
and water distribution systems. Three of the most significant springs
in the District will directly benefit: Silver Springs, Blue Spring in
Volusia County and Wekiwa Springs in Orange County.
Through cooperative funding, the District provides local governments
with incentives to design, build and operate ambitious water resource
protection projects that might otherwise be too costly for local
partners to complete singlehandedly.
The District received 42 cooperative funding project applications
during the spring submittal period that ended May 1, 2013. The 23
projects slated for funding emerged as priority projects following an
intensive and objective evaluation of each application.
This year, $60.2 million in projects in nine counties will be under
way, with the District contributing $14.5 million of the total cost of
the 23 selected projects.
Generally, the project applicant contributes a minimum of 60 percent
of the project costs and the District provides the remaining 40
percent, including ad valorem revenue, pass-through funding provided by
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and legislative
Stormwater reuse and reclaimed water development are common themes
in the list of projects. In Jacksonville, the District and JEA are
funding two projects that will extend a reclaimed water line to Queens
Harbor, a picturesque golf and yacht community bordering the
Intracoastal Waterway near the beaches of Jacksonville. Total cost for
the endeavor is about $411,000.
“These projects will make available 300,000 gallons a day of reclaimed water for Queens Harbor to use for irrigation, eliminating the use of potable water for irrigation,” says Carol Brown, an engineer in the District’s Water Supply Bureau. “The projects will reduce the amount of effluent discharged from the Arlington East Wastewater Treatment Plant to the St. Johns River.”
The city of Palm Coast is using the District cooperative funding program to increase production of potable water out of its water treatment plant. The plan is to install special cartridge filters and ozone treatment to supply an additional 750,000 gallons of water a day from the concentrate that is removed from raw water. Currently, the concentrate is blended with reclaimed water for irrigation or discharged to the Intracoastal Waterway. The total estimated project cost is $1.2 million, with the District funding 40 percent or about $494,880.
The easiest way to conserve water is to use water efficiently. In keeping with this philosophy, Gainesville Regional Utilities is taking an innovative approach by installing “Smart Meters” within the utility’s service area. The meters offer improved leak detection of about 100,000 gallons a day. The total estimated project cost is $100,000, with the District funding 40 percent, $40,000.