BROOKSVILLE — One solution to the murky water being created by the Hernando Beach Channel dredge project may be to add even more stuff to the waterway.
This material, however, will bond with the sediment clouding the filtered water and, together, it all will fall to the channel bottom and be dredged away.
Or so the theory goes.
Hernando County officials will meet today with their dredging contractor and consultant to discuss how best to respond to state environmental regulators' concerns about the project.
In a letter last week, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked for details about the water being returned to a canal after filtering can be made cleaner.
The long-awaited project was stopped on Jan. 8 because of the murky water, leaving the job just 6 percent done and with a completion deadline looming.
The answer could be in a plan proposed by the contractor, Orion Marine Group, to use an inorganic coagulant to bond with the sediments as well as using settling tanks for the cloudy water.
More details of the plan must be provided to the DEP, including tests proving that the treated material is not toxic to marine microorganisms.
Orion has asked for the test results to be completed by Feb. 12 and the contractor will submit the information to the DEP, the county officials and the consultant for review.
The DEP has 30 days to review it, but DEP officials have agreed to expedite their review, according to the report interim public works director Susan Goebel submitted Tuesday.
The county is under a time crunch. While the contractor was to have originally completed work by April 11, that schedule will likely change. Goebel has said that she would like to see final DEP approval on the altered spoils de-watering plan by March 1. If the contractor could get back to work by then, the job could be done by June.
Millions of dollars in state funding is in jeopardy if the project stretches past June 30.
Goebel is expected to give an update on the project at tonight's meeting of the Hernando County Port Authority, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Linda Pedersen Park at Jenkins Creek Recreation Building, 6340 Shoal Line Blvd.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.