Public Notices

 

Partnership Project Protects Drinking Water Supplies and River Water Quality
Friday, February 12, 2016

PALATKA, Fla., Feb. 10, 2016 — Project partners today celebrated the completion of an innovative project in Clay County to protect drinking water supplies and to reduce wastewater discharges to the St. Johns River and Black Creek. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at a 22-acre site in Green Cove Springs, Clay County Utility Authority (CCUA) and the St. Johns River Water Management District formally launched the operation of nine rapid infiltration basins (RIBs) at CCUA’s Mid-Clay Wastewater Treatment Facility.

“This project is another terrific example of lower St. Johns River partners working together toward a common goal and achieving it,” said District Executive Director Ann Shortelle. “CCUA and the district are united in the shared goals of improving river water quality and reducing demands on our aquifer systems.”

“This project will effectively eliminate wastewater discharges to the St. Johns River, promoting a healthier environment we can all enjoy,” said Tom Morris, CCUA’s executive director.

Project benefits will include storing reclaimed water during wet periods for use during the dry months and reducing nitrogen to the lower St. Johns River by more than 19,000 pounds per year. The new basins will allow the Mid-Clay facility to handle more than 2 million gallons of reclaimed water a day.

During periods when reclaimed water is not in high demand, the excess is periodically discharged to area surface waters, such as Black Creek and the St. Johns River. In 2014, CCUA discharged approximately 1,150 million gallons of treated wastewater to surface waters. Thanks to the new facility, the amount of reclaimed water discharged to surface waters will be greatly reduced, perhaps eliminated.

By redesigning the project in 2014 from an aboveground reservoir to the current footprint, CCUA saved taxpayers more than $1.6 million from the original cost estimate.

The project calls for reclaimed water to be stored and treated in a series of nine infiltration cells. Reclaimed water is introduced into the cells where it percolates into the surficial aquifer at the highest elevations of the site, allowing water to be stored in the soils beneath the site. Subsurface movement of this water continues downhill with a portion to be recaptured in a subsurface collection system. From there, the recaptured water is pumped to CCUA’s adjoining reclaimed water distribution system and used to augment the reclaimed water system.