Stormwater Pollution to Lower St. Johns River Controlled

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 3:18 PM PDT
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Stormwater Pollution to Lower St. Johns River Controlled

ATLANTIC BEACH, Florida, November 24, 2008 (ENS) - The Lower St. Johns River will run cleaner now that a stormwater retrofitting project is complete at the City of Atlantic Beach.

"The Hopkins Creek Project was originally proposed after storms repeatedly flooded residences and streets," said Atlantic Beach Mayor John Meserve.

The 1.7 acre Hopkins Creek Regional Retention Pond will treat the runoff from over 54 acres of developed residential and commercial lands and also provide additional flood protection.

In May 2008 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $550,000 water quality restoration grant to the City of Atlantic Beach for the construction of the project under the TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant Program established by the Florida Legislature in 2005.

The standard was set as a Total Maximum Daily Load, a daily pollutant loading limit that guides the state’s water quality restoration plan.

"With the emergence of TMDL requirements, the city was able to partner with DEP to develop a cost effective project that provides benefits for both needs, reducing the nitrogen discharged to the Intracoastal Waterway from stormwater runoff and also providing measurable flood control improvements," said the mayor at the dedication for the new facility on Thursday.

During Tropical Storm Fay in August, after pond construction was nearly complete, Atlantic Beach received over 11 inches of rainfall in total - 8.5 inches in 24 hours - with no home flooding in this basin.

The project provides treats the stormwater, removing nutrients and suspended solids, which helps the city to meet the TMDL limits for discharge to the St. Johns River.

The Hopkins Creek stormwater retrofit project is included in the recently adopted Lower St. Johns River Basin Management Action Plan - the blueprint for reducing pollutant loads and restoring the river.

As part of the plan, affected urban areas, like the City of Atlantic Beach, committed to do stormwater retrofits.

"The department is working with communities throughout Florida to retrofit existing drainage systems to provide stormwater treatment and reduce pollutant loads discharged to impaired waters," said Eric Livingston, chief of the DEP Bureau of Watershed Restoration.

The grant funding can be used to reduce urban nonpoint source pollution, primarily untreated urban stormwater, discharged to water bodies on the state’s verified list of impaired waters.

The department’s funds are used primarily for the construction of the stormwater treatment system and for monitoring to determine the actual pollutant load reductions from the treatment system.

The 50 percent matching funds provided by local governments or water management districts typically pay for land acquisition, design, permitting, and maintenance.

"The TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant Program allows the department to partner with local governments, water management districts, and other public entities to implement stormwater treatment projects needed to restore impaired waters," Livingston said.

The Hopkins Creek stormwater retrofit project is included in the recently adopted Lower St Johns River Basin Management Action Plan which is the blueprint for reducing pollutant loads and restoring the river. As part of the plan, affected urban areas, like the City of Atlantic Beach, committed to stormwater retrofits.

For more about the Lower St. Johns River Basin Management Action Plan, click here.

For more about the TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant Program, click here.

{Photo: St. Johns River as seen from from Fort Caroline National Memorial in Jacksonville Florida (Photo by Jon Dawson))}

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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