Advertisement
  1. News

County seeks to replenish wetlands in central Pasco

Published Oct. 8, 2015

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.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Less than a month after being fired, former St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love wants the agency to give him a job running its development nonprofit at the same $157,000 salary. That offer, part of ongoing negotiations over his severance, was rejected by the agency's board.
    Tony Love’s attorney tells the agency that fired him he wants full salary and benefits through 2020. The board rejects his offer.
  2. John Jonchuck returned to a Pinellas County courtroom last month to attend a hearing about whether he was entitled to a new trial. A judge on Tuesday ruled that he is not. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Jonchuck was convicted of first-degree murder in April. He dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe Jonchuck, off a bridge in 2015.
  3. Ralph Lewis Wald and wife Johnna Lynn Flores leave the Orient Road Jail on May 30, 2013, after Wald was acquitted in the fatal shooting of his wife's lover. [TIMES (2013)]  |  Tampa Bay Times
    An unidentified woman is found dead at their Brandon house. At the same time, the medical examiner confirms the wife has died.
  4. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker at Hamburger Mary's in Ybor City on Oct. 22, 2018. [JOSH FIALLO | Times] JOSH FIALLO | TIMES  |  JOSH FIALLO | Times
    Slightly more than 200,000 people have been vaccinated this year — a huge jump from the 49,324 people vaccinated in all of 2018.
  5. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  6. Falo Kane, 32, of Clearwater, faces four counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person and a violation of probation charge, according to police. [CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT]  |  Clearwater Police Department
    There were four victims, police said. One was in a wheelchair and another was a disabled stroke patient. The accused wrote a letter of apology.
  7. An eighth-grade boy can be seen punching a seventh-grader in a locker room in this screenshot from a video taken inside a Polk County middle school. Twitter
    A black student was slammed to the floor and punched repeatedly by a white classmate following a physical education class last week at Blake Academy in Lakeland.
  8. Workers refuel the tank at a gas station in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump declared Monday that it "looks" like Iran was behind the explosive attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. He stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key U.S. Mideast ally. AMR NABIL  |  AP
    Even before Tuesday’s reversal in prices, economists downplayed the prospect that the price spike could send the economy reeling.
  9. Watermans Crossing apartments at 4515 N. Rome Avenue in Tampa. Westside Capital Group
    Jakub Hejl discovered the Tampa Bay area while studying at IMG Academy.
  10. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace has 183 more students this school year than last. Middle schools grew in enrollment this year, while elementary schools lost more than 1,200 students.  [Times | 2013]
    The 20 day count shows ever more crowding in southeast Hillsborough.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement