LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Construction workers were connecting sections of purple, 20-inch diameter pipe Wednesday along State Road 70, within sight of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.
The pipe will eventually carry reclaimed water purchased from the city of Bradenton to be used for landscape irrigation at Lakewood Ranch.
E. T. MacKenzie Co. of Bradenton is installing pipe for the fourth phase of the project, essentially from just east of Interstate 75, along State Road 70 to Lorraine Road, said Jim Robson, project superintendent.
Horizontal trenching technology was being used Wednesday to bore through the earth to install pipe along the congested intersection area between River Club Boulevard and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. It was the same technology used this month to extend the water main under I-75.
In other, more wide-open sections of right-of-way, the pipe will be placed into trenches and covered with earth, Robson said.
Bradenton is expanding its pumping station and storage facility along 27th Street East to provide 6 million gallons of reclaimed water a day to Braden River Utilities, a subsidiary of Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.
Expanding the pumping station is phase one of the project. Phase two includes installing pipe to carry water from the pumping facility along 26th Avenue East to 45th Street East, and then south to State Road 70, where it would tie into an existing 16-inch pipeline.
Phase three would begin at the east end of the existing 16-inch main crossing Braden River. The 20-inch reclaimed water main would travel along the south side of State Road 70, under I-75, and stop approximately 1,100 feet east of the interstate, according to the project's website,
In phase five, the last portion of the project, the water main would be connected to the reclaimed water storage facility on Pope Road.
The project is set to be completed by April, according to the project website.
In July 2012, SMR and Bradenton city officials announced a reclaimed water agreement. Braden River Utilities would pay 32 cents for every 1,000 gallons of reclaimed water from Bradenton, and use a minimum 2 million gallons and maximum 4 million gallons per day. Helping make the deal possible was the repeal of a prohibition against using reclaimed water in the Braden River watershed.
For now, the once-a-week water restrictions on Lakewood Ranch residents will remain in place, as they have been for five years.
Until reclaimed water sources are in place to offset well usage, and the community adopts irrigation water conservation practices, the one-day-per-week irrigation schedule will remain, Bob Simons of Braden River Utilities said in August. Eva Rey, executive director of the Inter-District Authority responsible for Lakewood Ranch Town Hall activities, said Wednesday she is encouraged by anything that conserves natural resources.
"It's recycled water, and we are able to take advantage of that resource," Rey said.
For more information about the project, visit bradenriverreclaim.com.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053, or on Twitter@jajones1.