Identifying Feasible Reuse Opportunity: Wetland Rehydration With Reuse

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As a fast growing coastal community, the City of Panama City Beach, Florida has experienced the problem of expanding wastewater treatment capacity while identifying a feasible reuse alternative to their treated effluent surface water disposal. The goal of the City’s project was to identify and begin implementing the most feasible wastewater reuse option(s) available in order to eliminate direct effluent surface water disposal to a sensitive waterbody. The objectives were to evaluate reuse alternatives, recommend the most feasible alternative(s), begin implementation of the alternative(s), and terminate direct effluent surface water discharge.

The City considered numerous reuse options and determined the most feasible options were the wetlands rehydration/restoration alternative in combination with expanding the City’s public access reuse system. Based on site drainage basins and vegetative habitat characteristics, a unique hydrologic model was developed for the wetland site. The result was the creation of a unique loading plan based on the existing vegetative habitats and communities. The project includes a significant conservation area, pump station and associated force mains and distribution lines, multi-purpose trails and boardwalks, public educational facilities, and new access roads. The project will significantly reduce direct pollutant loads to local surface waters while helping rehydrate a hydrologically altered wetland.

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