The C-44 Reservoir/Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) is a project covering nearly 10,000 acres in South Florida. Once a vast area of natural wetlands, much of the land transitioned to agricultural use in the mid-20th Century after the construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike almost completely enclosed Lake Okeechobee, sharply reducing the flow of water into the region.
The project is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which sets out a long-term plan for restoring, protecting and preserving the water resources of Central and Southern Florida, including the Everglades. The storm water treatment area includes 32 miles of berms, 30 miles of canals and 63 structures.
Mandated by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), WSP performed construction management services for the C-44 Reservoir/Stormwater Treatment Area Project, which aims to capture runoff from the C-44 Basin and treat it before returning it to the C-44 Canal to help improve water quality in the Florida Everglades.
The C-44 Canal discharges into the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie Estuary. In the last several years, high levels of polluted storm water runoff have affected the recreational interests and livelihoods of local residents and businesses.
The purpose of the C-44 Reservoir/STA project is to build wetlands, canals, culverts, discharge structures, and embankments that will capture local runoff from the C-44 Basin, treat it naturally, and return it to the C-44 Canal. It also controls fresh water peak flow into Estuaries, avoiding the sudden releases of freshwater into the Indian River Lagoon.
Under its contract, WSP supported the SFWMD by ensuring the STA is constructed to proper standards so that it meets the established water quality goals.
The project is designed to capture 65 percent of the average annual storm water runoff in the C-44 basin. With an average water depth of 15 feet covering 3,400 acres of land, the reservoir will be able to hold 16 billion gallons of water. The pumping station will be capable of pumping water in and out of the reservoir at a rate of 1,100 cubic feet per second, or about 717 million gallons per day. After the process is completed, the water is returned to the canal to complete its journey to the St Lucie Estuaries. Due to the extension and characteristics of the project a large amount of material testing data was produced. A searchable database was created, capable of producing reports, maps and analysis in a timely and accurate manner.
This project will improve water quality by reducing the level of nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, and other pollutants currently discharged into the estuary. The project will also reduce the flow being released, so that damage to the ecosystem is minimized during storms.
As part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), this project improves the resilience of the St Lucy Estuary, controlling peak flows and protecting one of the most diverse marine’s environments in United States.