The Southwest Water Reclamation Facility is due for upgrades and an eventual expansion because of Manatee County's growing population.
The plans have some worried that expanding the facility, located at 5101 65th St. W., will effectively leave the county with only one public golf course.
That's not going to happen, county officials say.
On Thursday, a proposal to revise the general development plan for the Southwest facility will first make its way through the planning commission before it goes to county commissioners on Aug. 2. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Manatee County Administrative Building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W.
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The immediate changes are slated to come in the form of replacements for aging equipment, including the headworks, which removes pollutants from domestic and industrial wastewater to a level that the water is safe to be discharged into a waterway.
This general development plan revision also includes increasing the facility's capacity. An estimated 14,000 dwelling units are expected to be added to the Southwest facility's capacity alone based on approved planned developments, which include Aqua by the Bay and Lake Flores. The expansion additions include two 40,212-gallon flow equalization tanks, a 10,500-gallon anoxic basin, two 18,432-gallon aeration basins, a 3,200-square-foot recharge well building and a 1,488-square-foot storage area.
Amy Pilson, spokeswoman for the Manatee County Utilities Department, said that any expansion, whenever it happens, will be contained to the existing facility site, not on land where the Manatee County Golf Course sits.
"That's way down the road," Pilson said. "When they do any of that, it will be within the existing footprint of the current treatment facility. It would not encroach on any other properties or any other acreage."
The last time the facility had an expansion was in 2009, when two 10 million-gallon storage tanks, one clarifier and two aeration basins were added.
Carl Burke, a resident of Timber Creek Condominiums just to the north of the facility site, said that when he first heard of the proposal, he was concerned that the expansion would be built on top of the public golf course, located at 6415 53rd Ave. W. He's still worried that it could happen once the lease with Pope Golf is up.
"That's just as bad as doing it now," he said.
When he started canvassing the neighborhoods, he found that only residents who live directly adjacent to the golf course had been notified by the county of the proposal, saying "they are quite cranked up."
On a given day, Burke can smell the scent from the facility, depending on the direction of the wind.
"It's no Chanel No. 5, I'll tell ya," he said.