District funds innovative stormwater project in Alachua County

PALATKA, Fla., Aug. 30, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is teaming up with Alachua County, the University of Florida and UF Shands to undertake an innovative stormwater project designed to recharge Florida’s aquifer while simultaneously capturing and treating pollutants.

“This pilot project is just one example of several we are undertaking to turn storm water into a real asset for areas across the district,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This type of project lets us create stormwater ponds that not only capture pollutants but also replenish our groundwater supply—offering both a water quality and water quantity benefit. What’s more, by partnering with UF, the district is saving 43 percent on the overall cost of the project.”

The project, known as UF Health Shands Emergency Center at Kanapaha, includes a pre-treatment system for the first flush of runoff from the site and a wick drain system. The project site is characterized by poorly drained soils due to a confining layer of clay underground. The wick drain system is designed to facilitate recharge by penetrating the clay layer through an engineered drain using gravity and a patented blend of mineral materials, sand and clay, called Bold & Gold® Activated Materials (BAM), to capture nutrients while allowing water to percolate back into the aquifer.

The project will be monitored to determine the effectiveness of the wick drain and BAM technologies. The total project cost is $56,592, which includes the district’s installation of monitoring wells around the stormwater pond and water quality monitoring by UF.