New Facilities Will Help to Protect Water Resources in Apopka

Two construction projects – one at the Northwest Recreation Complex and another near Lake Apopka – will help grow Apopka’s reputation as an innovator in water resource management.

Preliminary construction is underway for the first of two large collection ponds to be built on 90 acres along the west side of the Northwest Recreation Complex at 3710 Jason Dwelley Road. The $1.6 million project will create a pond large enough to hold 23 million gallons of storm water runoff and other reclaimed water. Most of the pond bottom will be sealed with a thick liner to retain water – the upper four feet will be unlined to allow water to soak into the ground and replenish underground aquifers during heavy rain events.

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The city will build 4,000 feet of access roadway connecting to Appy Lane and also grade part of the property for future recreational fields. An existing line of trees will be removed – some of them to be replanted in another area – to make way for the improvements. Work should be completed by the end of the year.

Future construction could build a second, larger pond to hold another 67 million gallons of storm runoff and reclaimed water. An existing pond at Northwest can hold up to 116 million gallons.

The stored water is vital for irrigation of grass and landscaping for 6,500 customers in Apopka including homes, businesses and three golf courses. Even more, the new ponds will accommodate all new development for years to come.

The more Apopka utilizes reclaimed water for irrigation, the less fresh drinking water – or “potable water” – is needed for that purpose. That is important to conserve fresh water for potable consumption and to better manage withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer – the primary source of drinking water throughout much of Florida.

Reclaimed water is collected from storm drains and Apopka’s wastewater treatment plant. Apopka also receives a million gallons of reclaimed water each day from the Sanlando area. Soon the City of Altamonte Springs will provide Apopka with up to 5 million gallons a day – an amount that will increase to 7 million gallons a day in future years.

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Apopka also is working to capture water from the flooded marshes of the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area. The $12 million project under construction near Lust Road will be capable of treating up to five million gallons a day.

Construction started last year and is expected to wrap up by December. Crews are building a short pipeline to withdraw water from the flooded north shore of Lake Apopka – a 20,000-acre wetland restoration area connected to the lake. The water will be pumped underneath Lust Road into two, three-acre basins to filter out sediments.

Water will undergo additional treatment before it is pumped into a three-million-gallon ground storage tank. Eventually, the treated water will be pumped into the city’s reclaimed water system

Apopka’s reclaimed water system is coordinated with the St. Johns River Water Management District, which is funding part of the city projects, and is responsible for water resource management in all or part of 18 Florida counties.

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