DEP, SWFWMD, Crystal River Partner with Duke Energy to Break Ground on Water Reuse Project

May 22, 2014

 

Today the Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest Florida Water Management District and the City of Crystal River have partnered with Duke Energy to break ground on a more than $5 million project that will send up to 750,000 gallons per day of reclaimed water from the Crystal River wastewater treatment plant to the Duke Energy power complex.

“Under the leadership of Governor Scott, we have unprecedented levels of state funding to implement the projects to address the nutrient pollution and water quantity issues impacting our springs,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “I am proud to join our other partners today to celebrate the fruits of that labor that will result in improvements for King’s Bay.”

Redirecting the reclaimed water to Duke Energy rather than discharging into a spray field will reduce nutrient pollution reaching the spring shed by an estimated 28 percent. Additionally, utilizing reclaimed water at the Duke Energy power complex rather than potable groundwater will reduce strain on freshwater resources and increase spring flow into King’s Bay.

“Crystal River/King’s Bay has long been a primary focus for the District. This project will improve our springs by reducing the amount of nutrients entering the Floridan aquifer and reduce the amount of groundwater being pumped in the area,” said Michael Babb, incoming Governing Board Chair for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “Once complete, it will increase reuse in Citrus County to more than 40 percent, well on our way to our goal of 75 percent reuse by 2030.”

This project is a part of ongoing restoration efforts by both DEP and SWFWMD. Earlier this month the department adopted the restoration target for King’s Bay and hosted the first in a series of meetings with stakeholders to develop a five-year restoration plan for King’s Bay and Crystal River. DEP and SWFWMD have also cooperated to fund a number of ongoing projects, including a pilot project to restore eelgrass in Hunter’s Cove as well as the Three Sisters Springs Wetland Treatment project which will develop a stormwater treatment wetland to filter stormwater runoff.

“We all have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment and this project is certainly evidence of what we can achieve when working toward the same goal,” said Jeff Swartz, Vice-President of Generation, Duke Energy Florida. “This project will allow Duke Energy Florida to use less water from the aquifer while reliably serving our customer’s energy needs.”

“This important project helps to decrease pollutuion in King’s Bay, getting residents access to much clearer water, and also to decrease the amount of water being taken out of the aquifer,” said Crystal River City Councilmember Mike Gudis.

The King’s Bay spring system constitutes a vital cultural and economic resource for the state. Adjacent to the City of Crystal River, King’s Bay forms one of the highest magnitude springs group in Florida and generates the headwaters of the Crystal River. The system is considered a National Wildlife Refuge as it is the largest winter refuge for manatees on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is a popular ecotourism destination and was designated an Outstanding Florida Water by the State of Florida.

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