North Fort Myers, FL – Class V Injection Well Project
Thursday, December 08, 2016
The FGUA Del Prado Water Reclamation facility produces high quality reclaimed water (also referred to as “purified water” by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection) from wastewater, which we deliver directly to wholesale customers – including the City of Cape Coral – for irrigation. When it’s raining excessively for extended periods, demand for irrigation water drops significantly and our system has more reclaimed water than our customers can use and our existing injection well can handle. Currently that excess reclaimed water is discharged onto the ground at the reclamation facility. Even though it is high quality water used to irrigate parks and golf courses, by regulations, we need to have facility capacity to properly dispose of all reclaimed water produced, even during peak flows.
The most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to provide the necessary disposal capacity is to install an additional back-up disposal well for injection into an aquifer that cannot presently be used for drinking water but will recharge a natural resource. The Class V injection well was selected since it provides the most cost effective, long-term solution to providing the additional disposal capacity and reliability required by the FDEP.
The City of Cape Coral objects to this project. The City contends that the FGUA well will adversely affect their raw water sources used for drinking water and want us to build an even deeper disposal well, at a cost of an additional $2 million. Specifically, the City argues that by injecting high quality reclaimed water into the aquifer, we’ll increase the pressure deep below ground which will drive saltier water upward into their wellfields, resulting in increased treatment costs for the City.
There is no evidence that we or the FDEP have seen which supports Cape Coral’s claim that our reclaimed water could or would adversely affect their water supply. Their current source water is brackish, or mildly salty, and our treated discharged water is of higher quality. Our well will not be used all the time. It is intended to be used sparingly for backup use in high rainfall periods.
The FDEP has indicated its intent to issue the permit for our project. Cape Coral has filed a petition for an appeal hearing which has been scheduled for the week of February 21, 2017. We want you to know that we have thoroughly analyzed alternatives to address this problem and planned this project to carefully avoid any adverse impacts on others, manage costs for our customers and to protect the environment. Using approved low cost state loan funding, the proposed project will not require a rate increase. However, the more costly alternative suggested by the City of Cape Coral would require a rate increase. We are committed to minimizing the utility rate burden on our customers and plan to see this cost effective project through to completion.
If you have additional questions, please call us at 877.552.3482.