Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County seeks to replenish wetlands in central Pasco

Pasco County wants to take a dry ranch and turn it into wetlands.

Part of it, anyway.

The county's utilities services is working to build 200 acres of wetlands on 4G Ranch in central Pasco to disperse up to 5 million gallons a day of treated wastewater.

When completed, the wetlands will aid existing natural habitats and help replenish the aquifer during the dry season, said Michael Carballa, engineering director for the county's utilities division.

The water, known as reclaimed water, usually is sprayed on golf courses and in some residential neighborhoods for landscape irrigation. To store the reclaimed water for use in the dry season, the county has a reservoir in Land O'Lakes and is building a 500 million gallon reservoir at Boyette and Overpass roads in Wesley Chapel.

The dilemma is getting rid of the surplus during the summer rainy season when demand for reclaimed water is reduced. On average, the county's homes and businesses produce 24 million gallons a day of wastewater, all of which is treated and reused.

A key attribute of 4G Ranch, north of State Road 52 and east of U.S. 41, is its proximity between the county's regional treatment plants in Wesley Chapel and in Shady Hills. The ranch also sits between the Cross Bar and Cypress Creek well fields, which supply a significant portion of the region's drinking water and is an area "that has experienced some environmental consequences from operation of those two main well fields,'' said Bruce Kennedy, Pasco's assistant county administrator for utilities.

It's a reminder of the dry lakes and shriveling wetlands that inspired the 1990s-era water wars, which finally ended with the formation of the regional water utility, Tampa Bay Water, and the mandate to reduce groundwater pumping in Pasco County.

The plan now is to build up to 200 acres of new wetlands, divided among 15 basins ranging in size from 5 to 15 acres. The reclaimed water will be delivered from a 2-mile pipe tapping into the county's current utility line that runs along SR 52 between the Shady Hills and Wesley Chapel treatment plants.

Commissioners retained CH2M Hill engineers to complete the project design and permitting work under a $532,000 contract, with the Southwest Florida Water Management District also kicking in dollars.

Construction is expected to begin after the first of the year, and the county still must finalize an agreement with the 4G Ranch owners. The estimated total cost is $13.6 million, with the county again seeking partial funding from the water management district. Kennedy said if the project is a success, the county will consider duplicating it elsewhere around Pasco.

Separately, the county also wants to replenish Crews Lake with reclaimed water. But that requires a local legislative bill in Tallahassee because of previous legislation limiting sewage treatment discharges in the county.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, died in committee during the legislative session ending in April. Rep. Danny Burgess, R-San Antonio, is sponsoring the bill in the 2016 session.

County seeks to replenish wetlands in central Pasco 10/08/15 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2015 9:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, holds the AFC Championship trophy? as he celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.? (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) FBO247
  2. Sputtering Rays keep falling one run short

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even going into play against the Angels on Tuesday just a game under .500 at 23-24, the Rays have some issues they have to resolve.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb waits for Mike Trout to finish his trot after homering to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.