City of Lakeland s Wetlands Treatment System An Overview

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1 An Overview In response to more stringent requirements for wastewater discharges in the early 1980 s, the City explored options for the advanced treatment required, with the Wetland Treatment System proving to be the most efficient. Reclaimed from the phosphate industry, the City purchased the property in 1985 and made the necessary upgrades to facilitate its use as a treatment wetland. The Wetland began accepting treated wastewater in 1987 and has been in continuous operation ever since.

2 Ariel view Showing flows from the Influent through the various cells to the Effluent

3 Located north east of Mulberry, Florida, the Wetland Treatment System is over 1600 acres of uplands, hard wood swamps, emergent marshes, and open water lakes. The Wetland system accepts the treated wastewater from the City of Lakeland, processes that water, and then discharges it into a tributary of the north prong of the Alafia River. The water enters the system at the Influent structure via a pipeline from the Glendale Water Reclamation Facility. Weir-lined ditches Influent structure As the water cascades down the influent structure, the turbulent fall adds oxygen to the water. The water then splits into two streams along weir-lined ditches to distribute the flow into Cell 1.

4 Following it s progression through Cell 1, the water collects into control structures for conveyance into Cell 2. This process repeats itself through Cell 2, into Cell 3, where the water then flows through single control structures through the remaining cells. All flow is strictly gravity induced, as there is an approximate 80 foot elevation gradient throughout the system. Effluent Typical control structure Upon reaching the outfall of the system, or the Effluent, the water is then released back to the environment via a ditch leading to a tributary of the North Prong of the Alafia River.

5 From a water quality perspective, pollution is simply an excess of micro- and macro-nutrients and solids. The Wetland Treatment System functions to remove these excess nutrients and allow for the filtration and settling of the solids. This is accomplished primarily by the vegetation and micro-organisms living within the Wetland which require these nutrients for their survival and growth. As the nutrient laden water contacts the plants and the microbes, the excess nutrients are taken out of the water for use by these organisms. By the time the water reaches the effluent, enough excess nutrients are removed for the water to safely be returned to the environment. Four of the significant water quality parameters the Wetland processes are nitrogen, phosphorus, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and total suspended solids (TSS). Ten year averages for these parameters, as measured at our influent and effluent, are as follows: Influent Effluent Total Nitrogen (mg/l) Total Phosphorus (mg/l) BOD (mg/l) TSS (mg/l) % Permit Limit, mg/l Reduction (Annual Average) 87.6% % n/a* 50.6% 71.3% *As a former phosphate clay settling area, there is no permitted limit for total phosphorus

6 Other parameters such as ph, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, temperature, and water levels are routinely measured not just at the influent and effluent, but throughout the system. This data provides Wetland biologists the information necessary to optimize the performance of the Wetland. Additionally, our permit requires periodic toxicity testing with samples collected by City staff and testing accomplished by state certified contract laboratories. A key benefit is the ecosystem diversity maintained here. Found on the property are uplands, marshes, swamps, and lakes. Each of these habitats provides a home for a menagerie of plants and wildlife. While the necessity exists to operate and maintain the facility to support our mission, Wetland staff work to manage, maintain, and minimally disrupt these ecosystems. If you could tomorrow morning make water clean in the world, you would have done, in one fell swoop, the best thing you could have done for improving human health by improving environmental quality. William C. Clark, speech, Racine, Wisconsin, April 1988

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