Water-Related News

Fort Myers sludge from Dunbar site is headed to Polk County

The city of Fort Myers has found a Plan B for getting rid of the sludge deposited in a Dunbar neighborhood decades ago, according to a memo to city staff.

It is now headed to a waste solidification facility in Mulberry that processes nonhazardous solids, sludges, liquids, tars and gels in bulk quantities, the plan states.

The city began excavating the sludge site on South Street on Nov. 29 and at least two trucks left for a cement plant in Alabama in what the city called a "test run."

The removal plan was crafted by PPM Consultants, which the city has paid more than $3 million to help remove sludge from the site.

The Altamonte Springs-based consulting firm PPM enlisted the services of Geocycle, a subsidiary of waste management company LafargeHolcim, which owns the plant, but they found they could not take the material to Alabama, prompting neighbors on South Street to wonder how long it would take the city to continue the removal.

Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi said Thursday that he still expects the sludge to be removed by the middle or end of February.

"That's the commitment and we are going to do it," Kazemi said.

In the memo, Kazemi writes: "City staff evaluated the test run of the lime residuals material to Alabama and adjustments to the plan are required to proceed with the project. City staff worked with the contractor PPM to refine the plan and PPM found a permitted facility that is able to accept the material."

Deadline extended to submit Central Florida Water Initiative supply project options

New deadline is April 1st, 2019.

The Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) is working collaboratively with the region’s utilities, water users and local stakeholders to identify water supply project options to help meet our water supply needs, now and in the future. One piece of this effort is the creation a new list of potential projects to meet water users’ needs, which will be included in the upcoming 2020 CFWI Regional Water Supply Plan.

In March, the water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) formed a new CFWI work group dedicated to developing regional water supply project options. This group is made up of engineers, planners, and scientists from the water management districts, DEP, local governments and other area stakeholders. As part of this effort, the districts are currently reaching out to stakeholders in the Central Florida region to help develop ideas and concepts for new potential water supply, water resource development and water conservation project options.

Creating a list of potential water supply projects is a collaborative process and is based on voluntary input from area stakeholders. The districts are particularly focusing on identifying potential projects that achieve water conservation, provide reclaimed water to new water users, develop alternative water supplies, or benefit natural systems. Organizations or individuals which would like to submit a project option or concept for consideration in the Central Florida Regional Water Supply Plan are encouraged to contact their respective water management district representative listed below.

Potential project options can be submitted via mail or email. The Districts request that any responses be submitted by April 1, 2019, so that they can be considered for the 2020 Regional Water Supply Plan. A link to a project option form is provided below.

R. Thomas Kiger, P.E., Southwest Florida Water Management District
(352) 796-7211, ext. 4536

Lori Burklew, St. Johns River Water Management District
(407) 659-4813

Richard Nevulis, South Florida Water Management District
(561) 682-6242

New national report says climate change threatens U.S. water security

Water infrastructure was not designed for past climate extremes, let alone future changes, report authors say.

Putting human health, life, and jobs at risk, a reliable supply of clean water for cities, farms, industries, and ecosystems in the United States while also managing droughts and floods is “increasingly in jeopardy,” according to an expansive U.S. government report on the consequences of climate change in the country.

The National Climate Assessment, required by an act of Congress and written by more than 300 scientists, half from outside the federal government, is meant to inform U.S. leaders about changes to land, water, and air from a warming planet.

Released the day after Thanksgiving, the report focuses on how those physical changes will dramatically reshape human life and the systems that support it. The report also underscores troubling knowledge gaps about how the projected increase in extreme storms and heat will affect the nation’s water supply.

“We don’t have a very good grasp as a nation what our water-related risks are,” Casey Brown, a co-author on the report’s water chapter, told Circle of Blue. “We seem to keep learning this every time there’s a flood or drought.”

The authors of the water chapter emphasized three elements of the interaction between climate change and man-made systems: water quality and availability will shift; dams, levees, drainage systems, and other components of the nation’s water infrastructure are aging and poorly designed for a topsy-turvy climate; and water managers will need to prepare for a broader set of climate stresses.

“You could talk about a lot of impacts to water,” Upmanu Lall, lead author of the report’s water chapter, told Circle of Blue. “We chose to talk about infrastructure because no one is highlighting that.”

Physical alterations to the country’s water supplies, many of which are already happening, will be far-reaching, the report says. On the coasts and islands, rising seas will drive saltwater farther inland underground, which will worsen flooding and spoil groundwater used for irrigation and drinking water.

Peace River Water Authority may avert litigation

Polk utilities challenged increased withdrawals from river

A regional utility that wants to withdraw more water from the Peace River and several Polk County governments that filed litigation to block it from getting a permit to do so may settle their differences.

“We’re hopeful,” Patrick Lehman, executive director of the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority, said Thursday.

Lehman said a tentative agreement enables the Peace River authority to proceed with an expansion plan but perhaps “step down” the amount of additional water it could withdraw from the river.

The authority, the Polk County Regional Water Cooperative and the city of Lakeland intend to finalize the pact within 45 days.

Road project helps water quality

A completed road project in Auburndale will help reduce flooding and improve water quality thanks to a partnership between the District and the city.

Auburndale city leaders recently dedicated the PK Avenue project, which made improvements to the roadway that reduced residential flooding and helped improve water quality.

The project was co-operatively funded by the District, the Auburndale Community Redevelopment Agency, and the City of Auburndale. This $4.5 million project received $1,315,150 of its funding from the District.

Janie Hagberg, the District’s chief professional engineer, said the project will have a positive impact on the Auburndale community.