December 17, 2007

The Southwest Florida Management District, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Town of Dundee are moving forward on a project that will improve water quality by treating stormwater runoff within the Ridge Lakes watershed.

The goal of this multi-year project is to design, permit and construct stormwater treatment systems for 10 lakes located within the Lake Wales Ridge, Polk and Highlands counties.

This phase of the project is based on the results of a study completed by District staff of the Lake Wales Ridge chain of lakes. According to the study, many of these lakes receive significant untreated stormwater from urban land around them. The study identified stormwater treatment as a priority to protect and enhance the water quality of the chain of lakes.

This phase of the project involves retrofitting two stormwater pipes that directly discharge into Lake Menzie. These retrofits consist of two swales, a retention basin, and a long infiltration basin. These infrastructure improvements will be built within the Lake Menzie Park and Fitness Trail, which is park adjacent to the lake.

The first pipe will be directed to the long infiltration basin which will allow the water to percolate into the sandy soils to remove suspended solids and nutrients. This system will treat runoff from the State Road 17 commercial area, which accounts for about 75 percent of the runoff being treated.

Water discharging through the second pipe will be redirected into swales and the retention basin. This system will treat runoff from Dundee’s residential streets near the lake.

This phase of the project is estimated to cost up to $250,000. Funding will be divided among the District’s Peace River Basin Board and the FDOT. The Town of Dundee’s contribution is providing the land for the project. Additional funding to complete stormwater retrofits on the other nine lakes will be requested in future fiscal years.

This phase is expected to be complete by February 2009.

Storm water is water that flows over land during and immediately after a rainstorm. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified stormwater runoff as Florida’s most serious water quality problem today. Pollutants associated with stormwater runoff include sediment, nutrients, heavy metals, oils, greases, pesticides and bacteria. Without proper treatment in developed areas, these pollutants adversely impact the quality of the receiving water.

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