By Lori Irvine
The Florida Water Environment Association has chosen the Central Pasco County Beneficial Water Reuse Project — the 4G Wetlands — as its 2016 David W. York Water Reuse Project of the Year Award-winner.
The annual David W. York Water Reuse award recognizes service in education, innovative facility design, published papers, research, excellence in water-quality improvement, outstanding personal service, distinctive advertising, service in the operations field, plant safety and several other categories.
Since 2010, CH2M, alongside Pasco County Utilities and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), has provided a full range of design, permitting and services during construction of the 4G Wetlands, a multifunctional project addressing decades-long concerns regarding groundwater drawdowns in areas affected by public water-supply well-fields.
Project serves a dual purpose
“This innovative, reclaimed-water project facilitates a more holistic watershed management approach,” said Pasco County Project Manager Jeffrey Harris. “The ability to improve an area that has seen severe ecological degradation — coupled with recharging the Upper Floridan Aquifer that will provide for a more sustainable water supply for the 2.5 million people of the Tampa Bay region — serves as an example of how to better manage all freshwater resources.”
The 4G Wetlands project, now nearing completion, consists of a 175-acre groundwater recharge wetland system constructed on uplands pastures. The system is sized to receive 5 million gallons per day of reclaimed water to passively recharge the surficial and Upper Floridan aquifers, while protecting water quality.
Michael Hancock, Southwest Florida Water Management District project manager, said “The wetlands are an important component of the district’s mission to provide recharge in an area of hydrologic stress. In addition, they will provide valuable habitat, as well as an excellent example of responsible water management.”
In addition to the benefits to the aquifer and the regional water resources, the project will restore the ecological functions of the historically degraded onsite lakes and wetlands, and create 175 acres of new wildlife habitat within the 15 constructed wetland cells.
CH2M delivers sustainable solutions that benefit societal, environmental and economic goals. For more information, visit ch2m.com.
Lori Irvine is director of marketing and communications at CH2M.