FLEMING ISLAND, Fla., Sept. 24, 2019 ― Clay County Utility Authority and the St. Johns River Water Management District joined Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings on Tuesday in a ground-breaking ceremony for an innovative pilot project to remove phosphorus from treated wastewater before it is reused for irrigation or enters the Doctors Lake watershed. The project will remove an estimated 6,500 pounds per year of total phosphorus and will assist in furthering water quality improvements in Doctors Lake and the Lower St. Johns River Basin.
“We are here today because this is our home and we are committed to doing everything that we can to enhance and protect Doctors Lake and the St. Johns River,” said Sen. Bradley. “In recent years, this delegation has worked tirelessly to secure state funds and focus state resources on projects that will enhance and protect the St. Johns River, its tributaries and the lake region. This project will significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphrus entering Doctors Lake and is critical to addressing the algae problem we have witnessed.”
“During the 2018 Legislative Session, Sen. Bradley and I worked diligently to successfully secure the needed funding to combat harmful algal blooms in Doctors Lake and the lower St. Johns River,” said Rep. Cummings. “This phosphorus reduction pilot project will improve water quality and reduce algal growth, which benefits our community today and into the future.”
“We are grateful for the continued support of our governor and legislators as we use science to improve the health of our waterways,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This forward-thinking project will help reduce the overabundance of nutrients in Doctors Lake and positively impact the future of this community.”
“We appreciate the opportunity to once again partner with our Florida legislators and SJRWMD in a cutting-edge project designed to improve the environment and our community,” said CCUA Executive Director Tom Morris.
The Doctors Lake Phosphorus Removal Pilot Project will reduce dissolved phosphorus from the Fleming Island Regional Wastewater Plant to improve water quality and reduce algal growth, which is consistent with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order promoting environmental protection, addressing algal blooms and nutrient reduction.
In this full-scale demonstration project, treated effluent will be pumped and distributed over a vegetated filtration bed, which uses engineered media to remove phosphorus. This media binds with phosphorus, removing it from the water. The phosphorus remains bound to the engineered media, so no byproduct is produced. The treated water from this innovative project is returned to the effluent stream and, ultimately, Doctors Lake.
The project is funded through a 2018 $1.5 million legislative appropriation, spearheaded by Sen. Bradley and Rep. Cummings.