Aquifer Recharge at Flatford Swamp

This project will investigate the feasibility of recharging excess natural surface water into the Upper Floridan aquifer more than 1,000 feet below the land’s surface. The recharged water will help improve groundwater levels and reduce the rate of saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico in the SWUCA’s Most Impacted Area.

SWUCA Recovery and Natural System Improvement

The District is conducting a feasibility study at Flatford Swamp in Manatee County to evaluate an aquifer recharge project using up to two million gallons a day (mgd) of excess surface water draining into Flatford Swamp.

If feasible, the fully operational Flatford Swamp project may help recover groundwater levels by recharging up to 10 mgd in the Most Impacted Area of the SWUCA, reducing the rate of saltwater intrusion. Another benefit of removing water from the swamp is it will help restore the swamp’s natural hydrologic period and vegetation patterns.

Staff plans to implement a step-by-step analysis conducting additional data collection, monitoring and computer modeling to ensure the project concept is thoroughly evaluated. The recharge project will be implemented only if it is found to be safe for the water resources and beneficial for groundwater levels.

Project Details

In January 2017, the District held a public meeting prior to FDEP’s issuance of a permit. In April 2017, the District’s Governing Board unanimously approved the project. During late 2017 and early 2018, staff worked on sampling the source water as well as retaining a consultant engineer and a driller.

During the stakeholder engagement process, the District received inquiries from the agricultural community about water quality. In coordination with the UF/IFAS Plant Diagnostic Center, District staff confirmed that there was no presence of Phytophthora, a mold that could impact certain agricultural crops, in the surface water. Testing will continue at least twice a year.

Jones Edmunds will be performing the construction inspection and the design of the diversion infrastructure. In February 2018, the District issued the notice to proceed to Rowe Drilling to begin construction of the test and monitoring wells. A construction crew will be on-site until early 2019. Rowe began construction of the test well in May 2018.

ASRus is recording water quality data at the pad monitoring wells and collecting geophysical data from the test well as it is being drilled. 

The District will continue to work with key stakeholders and potentially affected parties. Please contact the project manager with any questions.

Project Schedule

Step 1: Desktop and modeling evaluation. Permit test well – Complete 
Step 2: Drill test and monitor wells. Collect aquifer characteristics and water quality – mid 2018 to early 2019 
Step 3: Begin recharge surface water test. Continue appropriate testing – mid 2019
Step 4: Evaluate all testing results – 2020