MANATEE -- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has published an "intent to issue" notice that clears the way for a construction permit for two new Manatee County wastewater injection wells.
The two Class V wells will be used to pump as much as 15 million gallons of treated municipal wastewater underground every day. They are intended to act as a relief valve for the county's wastewater system.
During the summer rainy season, precipitation can overwhelm the ability of the county's three water reclamation plants to treat and dispose of the water. Plants are connected by a pipeline that can shift water loads around the system.
Excess water is now pumped into a deep injection well in Cortez. The two new wells will be built on Port Manatee property and drilled to 1,100 feet.
Problems with excess water are particularly hard on the North Regional Water Reclamation Facility near Port Manatee, said Jeff Goodwin, county wastewater division manager. High water levels in a storage lake at the facility stresses berms that contain it. At times, the county must discharge the water into a canal and nearby surface waters.
The new wells will be connected to the North Regional facility with a dedicated pipeline. Excess water from the facility will go to those wells.
DEP spokeswoman Mara Burger said the agency received no public comments concerning the Class V wells. The agency is expected to issue a permit for construction within the next few weeks unless a petition is filed to send the project to an administrative hearing.
The project, cost estimated at nearly $18.9 million, includes the wells, dedicated pipeline and a pump station.
When built, the wells will join more than 14,000 other Class V wells in Florida.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.