Manatee may build special wells to handle waste water near port

skennedy@bradenton.comMarch 5, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County utility officials are exploring the possibility of setting up a special injection well system to handle waste water generated by industrial customers in the Port Manatee area.

The system would potentially serve industrial users, such as power plants or chlorine plants, in an effort to provide a more economic way for them to dispose of waste water, according to Jeff Goodwin, Manatee County's waste water division manager.

The system would provide a number of environmental benefits, such as providing barriers to saltwater intrusion, he told county commissioners Tuesday morning during a workshop session.

County officials are planning to work closely with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, since the two governmental bodies would need to issue permits in order for the project to go forward, officials said.

The county may also be able to help resolve thorny ecological issues at Piney Point, "in a more environmentally-friendly fashion," Goodwin said.

"It will position Port Manatee and the port encouragement zone very well, with being able to offer options for industries that have waste streams not typically handled within a waste water system," said Dan Gray, director of the county's utility department.

"We’ll be able to say, 'Hey, bring your company to us because we have this,'" he said.

The initial construction cost to the utility system would be about $24 million, but the water management district might partner with the county and help pay for the project, Goodwin said.

"There will be a return on investment," said Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

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