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ECUA holding public hearing on beach (PNJ 12/14/15)

12/14/2015 1:52 PM | Anonymous

From Staff Reports, PNJ.com, 12/14/15: 

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is hosting a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Santa Rosa Island Authority to inform the community of proposed expansion of its reclaimed water system on Pensacola Beach. The proposal entails constructing a 2.4-million gallon storage tank and pumping station in the same vicinity as the three potable tanks on the beach.

Tim Haag, ECUA director of governmental affairs, said the five-phase reclaimed water system will cost an estimated $3.9 million. Northwest Florida Water Management District awarded a $425,000 grant to ECUA for the construction of the storage tank and pumping station with the requirement that the initial phase be completed by October of 2017. ECUA already budget $1.5 million for the project and another $1.6 million will be coming over the next six years. The utilities company will seek additional grant funds through the RESTORE Act process.

ECUA initially proposed constructing a 750,000-gallon storage tank and pumping station in an area south of the Via de Luna tennis courts and north of the walking oval, near Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church and Pensacola Beach Elementary School. The estimated cost for that five-phase system was $3.1 million.

At a public meeting last month, the beach community voiced its frustration with the selected location and the limited potential benefit of installing a storage tank that only holds 750,000 gallons. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of discharge would still flow into the Sound on peak days.

The current ECUA reclaimed water system provides irrigation water only to the Santa Rosa Island Authority for a limited portion of the Via De Luna Right-of-Way. The ECUA potable water system provides the majority of water currently used for irrigation on the beach.

The Island Authority uses about 10 to 15 percent of the reclaimed water for irrigation with the remainder discharged into the Sound from the treatment plant. Haag said the Island Authority typically pays $3,000 to $3,500 for reclaimed irrigation water, an estimated savings of about $10,000 from the potable rate for the same amount of water. He said the utilities company is exploring how to provide reclaimed water to beach residents, too.

For the original article, click here.

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