The Florida Water Environment Assn. chose the Central Pasco County Beneficial Water Reuse Project, the 4G Wetlands, as the winner of its 2016 David W. York Water Reuse Project of the Year Award. The David W. York Water Reuse Awards recognize service in education, innovative facility design, published papers, research, excellence in water quality improvement, outstanding personal service, distinctive advertising, service in the operations field, plant safety and several other categories.
Since 2010, CH2M, alongside Pasco County Utilities and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, has provided a full-range of design, permitting and services during construction for the 4G Wetlands, a multifunctional project addressing decades-long concerns regarding groundwater drawdowns in areas affected by public water supply wellfields.
"This innovative, reclaimed water project facilitates a more holistic watershed management approach," said Pasco County Project Manager Jeffrey Harris. "The ability to improve an area that has seen severe ecological degradation coupled with recharging the Upper Floridan aquifer that'll provide for a more sustainable water supply for the 2.5 million people of the Tampa Bay region, serves as an example of how to better manage all freshwater resources."
The 4G Wetlands, nearing completion, consist of a 175-acre groundwater recharge wetland system constructed on uplands pastures. The system is sized to receive 5 million gal per day of reclaimed water to passively recharge the surficial and Upper Floridan aquifers, while protecting water quality.
"The wetlands are an important component of the District's mission to provide recharge in an area of hydrologic stress. In addition, they will provide valuable habitat, and an excellent example of responsible water management," said Michael Hancock, Southwest Florida Water Management District project manager.
In addition to the benefits to the aquifer and the regional water resources, the project will restore the ecological functions of the historically degraded onsite lakes and wetlands, and create 175 acres of new wildlife habitat within the 15 constructed wetland cells.
The Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals also selected the 4G Wetlands for an Environmental Excellence Award in 2017 for its outstanding environmental contributions.
"The now two-time award-winning and multifunctional 4G Wetlands are a great example of how organizations can utilize public-private partnerships to maximize the benefits of water reuse, and use this valuable resource for its highest purpose, ecology and water supply," said Rafael Vazquez-Burney, CH2M 4G Wetlands project manager and treatment wetlands expert. "It's both an honor and a privilege to be recognized by the Florida Water Environment Assn. and the Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals, and to partner with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Pasco County on their first project of this kind."
The 4G Wetlands project received its award at the joint Florida Water Environment Assn. annual meeting and Florida Water Resources Conference. A full list of the award-winners appears on the Association's website.