Florida DEP Awards $1.6 Million for Stormwater Projects

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently awarded more than $1.6 million in funding for stormwater projects in Brevard County to protect the health of the Indian River Lagoon.stormwater

“We are pleased we can offer multiple funding sources for stormwater projects to help restore and protect the Indian River Lagoon,” said Trina Vielhauer, director of the Division of Water Restoration Assistance. “This funding enables communities to be proactive in enhancing the lagoon’s ov
erall water quality by managing their specific area’s stormwater runoff.”

Stormwater runoff is generated when rain flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not seep into the ground. As the runoff flows over paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, nutrients, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is left untreated and runs into nearby surface waters, like the Indian River Lagoon.

Several examples of recent Brevard County area stormwater improvement projects awarded state funding include:

Autumn Woods Detention Pond Improvements: The City of Melbourne was awarded a $518,740 grant to construct a wet detention pond at a residential neighborhood intersection of an untreated stormwater conveyance system and the Eau Gallie River to reduce nutrient loading into the Eau Gallie River and Indian River Lagoon. The new detention pond will replace the existing aging system and increase stormwater detention capacity.

Fountainhead Denitrification System: Brevard County was awarded $309,865 in grants to install two nitrogen-removing bioreactor chambers next to the city of Melbourne’s Fountainhead residential pond and canal. These bioreactors use common organic materials to provide a food source for naturally occurring microorganisms. The microbes convert dissolved nitrogen into harmless nitrogen gas, which is released into the atmosphere, and the treated water is released back into the stormwater system. The project will help decrease excessive vegetation, improving discharges to the Eau Gallie River, northern and central Indian River Lagoon and Crane Creek.

Huntington Lakes Stormwater Park: The City of Rockledge was awarded a $300,000 grant to construct a 28-acre wet detention pond to connect to the 40-acre Barton Lake Stormwater Pond, creating the Huntington Lakes Stormwater Park, which will provide additional nutrient removal and treatment of stormwater runoff into the Indian River Lagoon. The project also includes a bridge and outfall spillway structure, water-quality monitoring and educational signs and kiosks.

Johnson Jr. High School Pond Retrofits: Brevard County was awarded a $239,500 grant to enhance the efficiency of an existing retention pond by regulating and redirecting stormwater flow through nitrogen-removing and phosphorous-absorbing chambers to reduce pollution entering the northern Indian River Lagoon.

South Croton Stormwater Drainage Improvements: The City of Melbourne was awarded a $191,100 grant to construct four dry retention basins in a residential neighborhood, with a final outfall through a nutrient-removal baffle box, to reduce stormwater and nutrients entering the northern Indian River Lagoon. The project will also relieve roadway flooding during large storm events and repair erosion along the roadway.

South Patrick Baffle Box Denitrification System: Brevard County was awarded a $136,000 grant to combine the technology of a second generation baffle box with a phosphorous-reducing filter system and innovative nitrogen-removing bioreactor in unincorporated Brevard County to reduce nutrient loading into the Banana River and Indian River Lagoon.

Additionally, in neighboring Indian River County, the City of Sebastian was awarded a $67,000 grant to construct a stormwater treatment system at the city’s working waterfront drainage outfall. The project will assist in alleviating stormwater from the roadway and parking area during rain events by installing conveyance and nutrient-reduction systems to reduce pollutants entering the Indian River Lagoon.

To further improve the lagoon’s water quality, the department is identifying additional wastewater and stormwater projects that reduce the amount of nutrients entering the lagoon, and dredge projects that remove muck from the bottom of the lagoon, which also feeds algae blooms.

For this fiscal year, nearly $26 million from the Florida First budget will be invested in future water-quality improvement projects in the Indian River Lagoon, which includes a $21.5 million muck dredging project.

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