Project to replenish groundwater progresses in Clay County

Jan. 11, 2024

Aerial view of Pump Station construction

An aerial view shows ongoing construction of the pump motor control center building and pump station for the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project

A major water resource development project in north Florida is well on its way to fruition, with multiple benefits for the region’s water resources. The Black Creek Water Resource Development Project recently achieved milestones to move the project closer to its projected late 2024 completion.

This regionally beneficial water resource development project of the St. Johns River Water Management District in Clay County will recharge the Upper Floridan aquifer and also benefit water levels in lakes Brooklyn and Geneva to help support their minimum flows and levels. During 2023, the District’s Governing Board approved contracts to begin construction of the three main project components — a surface water intake and pump station, pipeline and treatment system — with construction progressing on all components.

As passersby may have noticed when traveling along State Road 16, the pump station and intake structure construction is well underway (approximately 75% and 80% complete, respectively). Progress has also been made on the second element of construction with installation of a half mile of high-density polyethylene (or HDPE) pipe under two creeks and along SR 21 using horizontal directional drilling technology. Furthermore, over three miles of ductile iron pipe has been installed along SR 21 and SR16 using open-cut construction.

Empty construction lot

Construction progresses at the site of treatment cells where color and nutrients will be removed from the water prior to flowing into the Alligator Creek system near Keystone Heights.

Construction on the final component, the passive water treatment system, began in October 2023. Because the water in Black Creek contains natural tannins and lakes Brooklyn and Geneva are clear water lakes, the pumped water will be treated to remove the color. The treatment system will also remove nutrients. To date site clearing for three of treatment cells has been completed, and grading and shaping of these three cells has begun. Clearing of the other three treatment cells is ongoing.

Once all three construction components are complete, up to 10 million gallons per day could be pumped to the treatment system from the South Fork of Black Creek prior to discharging to Alligator Creek and eventually Lake Brooklyn. Diversion of water from the creek will only be made when there is sufficient flow available to ensure the protection of natural resources within the riverine system (anticipated to be primarily during wet-weather flows). The treated water will replenish groundwater levels in the Upper Floridan aquifer through connections beneath lakes Brooklyn and Geneva.

“Large projects with multiple construction elements are complex and take time, so it’s exciting to see the progress now that construction is well underway,” said Dale Jenkins, director of the District’s Division of Infrastructure and Land Resources. “It’s also great to attain multiple water resource benefits from one project that will add to the quality of life for north Florida residents.”

24-inch black pipes

Sections of 24-inch ductile iron pipe that will be used to convey water from the Black Creek surface water intake to the pump station are lined up in a staging area prior to installation as part of the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project.

A section of State Road 21 where installation of the 30-inch ductile iron raw water transmission piping has been completed.

The current cost estimate for the construction of the entire project is approximately $100 million. More than $43 million in project funding was provided by the Florida Legislature beginning in 2017. A partnership with north Florida utilities is contributing $19.2 million toward the project. Those utilities include Clay County Utility Authority, Gainesville Regional Utilities, St. Johns County Utilities and JEA. The remaining balance will be provided from District funds.

To learn more about the project and follow its progress, visit the District’s website at, visit the District’s YouTube channel at, and follow the District on social media (@sjrwmd).

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