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Winter Springs mulls biggest project in city history

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CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Winter Springs’ Wastewater Management Plan meeting will be at 1 p.m. Friday. Winter Springs has moved its Wastewater Management Plan meeting to 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 2.

Winter Springs is one step closer to a comprehensive redesign of its wastewater and reclaimed water management systems, but it’ll have to wait again for a final vote.

“This is a big, historic moment for the city,” Mayor Kevin McCann said.

Monday night engineers from firms Kimley-Horn and Associates and Carollo presented plans, designs and proposed estimates for how the city may soon rebuild its aging wastewater management system and fix and expand its reclaimed water system to include more of the city. Expansion of the reclaimed system will help the city remain underneath the Consumptive Use Permit (CUP) potable water use limit they’re allowed by the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The redesign, replacement and expansion plans come as the city is struggling with aging water systems that recently experienced structural failures.

“Our water reclamation facilities are more than 50 years old and they’re at their end of life,” Winter Springs Public Works and Utilities Director Jason Norberg said, listing off “extreme corrosion” and “failing tank shells, walkways and supports” among other concerns.

Engineers designing the projects utilized computer modeling that would help plan ahead to contingencies in the future, Lance Littrell from Kimley-Horn said.

“What that model does is it actually simulates reclaimed water performance throughout the day,” he said. “It’s looking at peak flows, high flows, low flows, all times of day. We do a full 24 hour simulation on that, and we can look at every scenario, even seasons and things of that nature, drought conditions and things that are similar.”

The flow model, which shows how different water users can impact the whole system, can be updated to show impacts of future projects in the city, Littrell said.

“If you have a development, you have a major user coming into town, you can plug it into that and actually simulate what’s going to happen, not just at that single location but the entire citywide model,” he added.

The 20-year wastewater management plan would include proposed expansions within 10 years of reclaimed water piping into St. Johns Landing, Glen Eagle, Arbor Glen, Tuscawilla Wicklow and Tuscawilla Country Club along Tuscora Drive, plus converting potable irrigation systems to reclaimed water along Tuscawilla’s Northern Way, Chestnut Ridge, Chestnut Estates and Oak Forest. That would be in addition to recommended immediate work to extend a reclaimed water main along 434 east and west past the Winter Springs Town Center.

Image courtesy of the city of Winter Springs.

The model and designs from Kimley-Horn led to recommendations for improvements and rebuilds over a 20-year span that would amount to an estimated $104 million. More than $76 million of that cost would be for replacement of the city’s east and west wastewater plants and connected facilities within five years, which would process an estimated 1.5 million gallons per day of treated water.

That water would be treated to a higher standard than the city currently operates under, though it would not meet the Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) threshold required of other nearby cities in protected watershed areas. Winter Springs is not in one of those areas.

“There’s no need to incur those excess costs at this point in time,” Carollo Engineer Brian Graham said.

The system would, according to Carollo’s analysis, be updateable to treat water at that standard if required in the future.

The wastewater plant replacement would require a vote to change the city’s wastewater master plan, which was up for consideration Monday night, until it abruptly wasn’t.

“I’ve got a concern, Mayor,” Deputy Mayor Kevin Cannon said. “My concern is the agenda comes out Wednesday night on the biggest capital expenditure projects in this city’s history and I was out of town over the weekend but the reality is I’m not prepared to make a decision tonight. I’ve got questions that I want to ask. I want to make it at the next commission meeting because this is really, really important.”

“This is the largest item that we have as a city and probably will in 100 years,” he added.

The Commission quickly scrapped plans to vote on the systems Monday, pushing the vote back to a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 2 at Winter Springs City Hall.

 

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