Lakewood Ranch Herald

Reclaimed irrigation water coming to Lakewood Ranch from Bradenton and Sarasota

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch soon will receive reclaimed water for irrigation from four different sources, through funding agreements established in the past several years with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Braden River Utilities, a subsidiary of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.

Recycled water from the Braden River Watershed, which will primarily be used to irrigate Lakewood Ranch homes and golf courses, is of a higher quality than groundwater from wells and will help conservation efforts, resulting in less strain on the regional water-supply system.

"Reclaimed water with advanced water treatment is very clean, with little minerals and no salt. The remaining nitrogen and phosphorus in the reclaimed water are both absorbed and utilized by the grass and plant material being irrigated," said Bob Simons, vice president of Braden River Utilities.

In collaboration with the city of Bradenton, the northwest and southwest sectors of Lakewood Ranch will receive between 2 million and 6 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, depending on the flows to the Bradenton wastewater treatment plant.

The $14 million project, funded equally through a cooperative arrangement with BRU and the water-management district is complete, according to BRU and Bradenton Public Works, except for some valve-pressure adjustments at the discharge end of the transmission line in Lakewood Ranch, where water will flow into a nearby receiving pond along State Road 70 East.

"The pipeline is currently filled with reclaimed water, over 1.5 million gallons, and as soon as the control-valve settings are ironed out, the city of Bradenton will be in a position to start full delivery of water to Lakewood Ranch," said Jim McLellan, engineering section manager for Bradenton's Public Works Department.

The pressures at this particular control valve send electronic signals to the new pump station along 27th Street East in Bradenton that are used to operate the pumps, and McLellan said the adjustments should be made this week.

The first phase of the project, which began in August 2012, involved construction of a new pumping station at Bradenton's existing reclaimed water storage tank, equipped with three pumps each designed to deliver 2 million gallons of reclaimed water a day. The city of Bradenton has a 20-year-agreement with BRU to supply Lakewood Ranch with reclaimed water at a cost of .32 cents per 1,000 gallons, with an annual escalator based on the consumer utility price index.

Operation and maintenance of the new water station will be the responsibility of the city of Bradenton, McLellan said.

The second recently completed, cooperatively funded water project between BRU and the city of Sarasota will provide about 2 million gallons of reclaimed irrigation water to residents and commercial users alike in the southwestern sector of Lakewood Ranch. The project, which cost $1.5 million, paid equally by BRU and the water management district, involved construction of several water transmission pipelines and a new 1 million gallon-a-day pump station interconnecting Sarasota's reclaimed water system with the BRU system.

The southernmost portion of Lakewood Ranch south of University Parkway receives over 2 million gallons a day of reclaimed water from two agreements made in 2007 and 2009 between a former Florida investor-owned water company, AquaSource, since acquired by Sarasota County, and BRU.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter