TALLAHASSEE, FL, JANUARY 17, 2017 -- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded a $1 million grant for a water-reuse project in Bay County to improve water quality and implement water conservation. The project was funded through a 2016-17 state legislative appropriation.
"Water reuse projects are vital to ensuring a sustainable water supply for Floridians and our natural resources," said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. "DEP is committed to continuing to partner with local communities, the Florida Legislature and the state"s water management districts to support important projects like this one that will help preserve our precious water resources."
The North Bay Wastewater Reuse project includes the design, permitting and construction of approximately 6 miles of reuse line from the North Bay Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) to Gulf Powers Lansing Smith Power Plant for use in their cooling process. Currently, the power plant is permitted to draw water from North Bay as its source for cooling water, which is discharged back to North Bay upon completing the cooling process.
By making reclaimed water available for cooling, less water will need to be drawn from North Bay and no reclaimed water will be discharged into groundwater. Completion of this project will result in improved water quality in the St. Andrews Bay estuary, reduced nutrient loading, conversion of the North Bay WWTF to a zero discharge operation and reduced capital improvement costs.
"Our water resources are most precious in sustaining quality of life for our residents," said Representative Brad Drake. "When we have an opportunity to divert usage on our lakes and rivers, and instead utilize water reclamation technology, it"s a win for long-term preservation."
"Cooperative efforts between the state, our local governments and the private sector always benefit our citizens and, in this case, the wonderful environment of Bay County," said Representative Jay Trumbull, Jr.
"Bay County is glad to be a recipient of this DEP grant so we can do our part to help extend Florida"s finite natural water sources," said Robert “Bob” Majka Jr., Bay County manager. "The North Bay Wastewater Reuse project is one that will have continued environmental benefits to our area for years to come."
Other funding partners include DEP"s Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), and the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
“The District appreciates the commitment shown by Secretary Steverson and DEP for this project,” said Brett Cyphers, Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. “We take pride in helping fund projects like these, and we look forward to working with Bay County as we make a positive impact on our area"s precious natural resources.”
For the past 20 years, Florida has been recognized as a national leader in water reuse, with domestic wastewater facilities increasing their reuse capacity by approximately 465 percent since 1986. Currently, approximately 738 million gallons per day (mgd) of reclaimed water is reused statewide for beneficial purposes. Reclaimed water from public access reuse systems is used to irrigate approximately 362,000 residences, 530 golf courses, 1,000 parks and 360 schools. Reusing 738 mgd of reclaimed water is estimated to have saved over 144 billion gallons of potable-quality water and added more than 86 billion gallons back to available ground water supplies.
For more information about Florida"s water reuse program, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/reuse.