District and St. Johns County partnering on project to extend groundwater supplies and protect the St. Johns River

PALATKA, Fla., June 23, 2016 — Construction is complete on a project to expand the use of reclaimed water by 1 million gallons per day in St. Johns County, which helps to reduce nutrient loading to the St. Johns River. The project also protects and further extends north Florida’s drinking water supply. The project is a cost-share partnership between St. Johns County and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

“This project is another great example of the district and St. Johns County working together on an environmentally beneficial solution to reduce nutrient loading, to help offset future water supply needs and to provide for long-term growth in the area,”said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “I’m excited to partner with St. Johns County on this project to expand reclaimed water use into residential neighborhoods.”

“This project is consistent with our recent Integrated Water Resource Plan, which identified expansion of reuse water to maximize sustainability of our valuable resources,” said Bill Young, St. Johns County Utilities director. “We are, again, very proud to partner with the district in this important initiative for St. Johns County.”

Reclaimed water is wastewater that has been thoroughly treated to remove harmful organisms and substances, such as bacteria, viruses and heavy metals, so it can be reused. Water reuse involves taking what was once wastewater, treating and disinfecting it, then using the resulting high-quality reclaimed water for a beneficial use, such as irrigation for golf courses, parks, highway medians, playgrounds and residential properties.

The new water main will transport 1 million gallons of reclaimed water per day to new customers in the St. Johns County service area. It will also service future residential and commercial customers located along International Golf Parkway.

Additionally, the project will conserve groundwater use at the Northwest Water Treatment Facility and offset the use of freshwater for irrigation. It will also reduce treated wastewater discharges from the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Facility into Mill Creek, a tributary of the St. Johns River.

“Reclaimed water keeps the continued population growth in St. Johns County from adding to the draw on the Floridan aquifer,” said Derek Busby, a project manager and leader of the district’s Middle and Lower St. Johns River Water Quality Improvement Initiative. “St. Johns County has been doing a good job of planning out for the future.”

The reuse main should be in use by July 2016.