September 10, 2007
The Southwest Florida Water Management District is working with Pinellas County on two projects that will treat stormwater within the Lake Tarpon watershed, which will improve water quality discharging to the lake.
The Lake Tarpon watershed consists of 52.4 square miles, extending from northern Pinellas County into northwest Hillsborough County. The watershed consists of three major drainage basins, including the Brooker Creek, South Creek and Lake Tarpon basins.
Both projects consist of the design, permitting and construction of an enhanced stormwater treatment pond using aluminum sulfate, a chemical agent known as alum. It promotes the formation of large solid particles, or floc. Nutrients and pollutants in the stormwater runoff attach to the floc and settle in the pond. The county will be responsible for long-term operation and maintenance of the treatment ponds and alum systems, which involves removing the alum floc.
Both stormwater ponds will be constructed on land owned by the county.
The project on the northeastern side of Lake Tarpon will treat stormwater runoff from a 570-acre basin consisting mainly of single-family homes and agricultural land. This project has the potential to remove 112 pounds of total phosphorus and 336 pounds of total nitrogen annually.
The project on the western side of Lake Tarpon will treat stormwater runoff from a 212-acre basin consisting mainly of single-family homes. This project is estimated to remove 267 pounds of total phosphorus and 579 pound of total nitrogen annually.
The estimated budget for both projects is $1.07 million. The District’s share of $400,000 will be divided between the District’s Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program. Pinellas County has budgeted $237,500 for the project and has secured an additional $375,000 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Water Quality Restoration grants.
The Florida Legislature established the SWIM Act in 1987, requiring the five water management districts to maintain a priority list of water bodies of regional or statewide significance. The districts develop plans and programs for the improvement of these water bodies. Lake Tarpon is one of the District’s top SWIM priorities.