North Florida Land Trust and its partner, Sustainable Water Investment Group or SWIG, will join the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Clay County Utility Authority on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 a.m. for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Doctors Lake Phosphorus Removal Pilot Project. SWIG will be leading the project to reduce the phosphorus discharge from the Fleming Island Regional Wastewater Plant using state-of-the-art technology they have developed. NFLT partnered with SWIG approximately four years ago to identify areas where this technology can be used to clean up waterways.
“The process that SWIG has developed has the potential to become a real solution to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal coliform in our waterways to make it safer for recreational use and to provide a solution to problems like the outbreak of algae blooms,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT.
SWIG will install a 40,000 square foot advanced bioretention system, which is a state-of-the-art vegetated vertical filtration system that will use an engineered media that will utilize water treatment residuals to remove phosphorus from the water column. The system will pump unchlorinated effluent onto the media in six to eight doses per day and the alternate filling and draining will introduce oxygen into the media to promote the plant and microbial transformations essential to obtain high phosphorus removal rates. The treated effluent is then collected by an underdrain and pumped to the chlorine contact tanks. The treated water is then returned and ultimately released into Doctors Lake.
In addition to developing the system to remove the phosphorus, SWIG also obtained the upfront financing to implement the pilot facility. SWIG will be the project lead for the team assembled to meet the St. Johns Water Management District’s phosphorus reduction target. Green Earth Operations is the technical lead. Ogden Engineering and Construction Services will manage the project locally and Baker Design Build is the general contractor. BT Pump & Control Service will provide the pump station packages and control systems and Environmental Conservation Laboratory will provide EPA certified water quality testing.
NFLT identified the project at Doctors Lake while working with SWIG on a proposal for the City of Jacksonville to find a solution to reduce the nitrogen in the lower St. Johns. NFLT attended the mandatory pre-bid process and the presentation for this project.
McCarthy said, “The system implemented at Doctors Lake could be expanded to other water management districts, utilities, cities, counties, and states. We will continue to work with SWIG to identify additional projects and lands where this could be implemented.”
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to protect the natural resources, historic places and working lands (farms and ranches) throughout north Florida. Founded in 1999, NFLT has preserved tens of thousands of acres of land through donation or purchase of land as well as conservation easements. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with willing landowners and public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit nflt.org.