District slashes maintenance costs in St. Johns River

A diver inspecting a large culvert

PALM BAY, Fla., June 8, 2016 — St. Johns River Water Management District maintenance crews are using an innovative technique to slash culvert repairs by as much as 80 percent.

“We’re lucky to have clever and dedicated staff who are driven to find the most cost-effective ways to solve problems without compromising quality,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Technology is always evolving and if there’s a better way build a proverbial mousetrap, we’ll find it.”

Divers are installing large metal expanding bands to repair a damaged culvert in a remote area of the upper St. Johns River basin. Traditionally, the repair would require construction of a coffer dam to dry out area surrounding the subterranean pipe so that it could be unearthed, removed and replaced with a new pipe. The traditional approach can cost $50,000 or more, depending on the size of the repair; the new method is expected to cost less than $10,000.

The district has also used the banding method successfully at Lake Apopka, saving $90,000 in repair costs.