District Board approves cooperative project to provide water resources protection in the Wekiva River Basin
PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 12, 2013 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved a collaborative cost-share agreement that will provide alternative water supply to the city of Apopka while reducing the amount of nutrients entering the Little Wekiva and Wekiva rivers.
The $12.5 million stormwater and reclaimed water management project partners the District, the cities of Altamonte Springs and Apopka, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
"This is a great example of intergovernmental cooperation," said District Executive Director Hans G. Tanzler III. "We have two local governments and three government agencies working together on a project that reduces water use in the springshed and provides springs protection by reducing the loading of nutrients."
Altamonte Springs was one of the first cities in central Florida to implement reuse of reclaimed water for landscape irrigation. This project will provide up to 4.5 million gallons of water per day (mgd) of alternative water supply, taking advantage of storm water captured from FDOT's Interstate 4 expansion project and unused reclaimed water from the city of Altamonte Springs. Using the storm water for reuse, and preventing any wet weather discharge of unused reclaimed water, will significantly reduce the amount of nutrients entering (or "loading") into the Little Wekiva River.
The innovative project will provide up to 4.5 mgd to the city of Apopka to augment its reclaimed water system for landscape irrigation and reduce dependency on groundwater. In turn, the project will prevent 27,000 pounds per year of total phosphorus and 59,000 pounds per year of total nutrients from being discharged into the Little Wekiva River.
"By reducing nutrients to the Little Wekiva and Wekiva rivers, this project should ultimately help to better protect Wekiwa Springs," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. "DEP continues to focus on tangible projects that are protective of the environment, both in terms of water quality and water quantity."
FDOT will provide $4.5 million of the total funding, the District $3.5 million, Altamonte Springs $3 million and DEP $1.5 million to the project that combines water quality and water quantity benefits. The city of Apopka will make improvements in its system to store and use the water received from this project.
Specific benefits of the project include:
- Supplies unmet demands for additional reclaimed water in western Orange County
- Significantly reduces surface water discharges
- Substantially reduces groundwater augmentation of reclaimed water in the Altamonte Springs and Apopka reclaimed water systems
- Significantly reduces nutrient loading from nonpoint and point sources to the Little Wekiva River
- Addresses total maximum daily loads
- Addresses stormwater treatment needs for Interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs
- Creates a conveyance system to potentially move additional alternative water supplies from Seminole County west into Orange County in the future