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Manatee County Shoots For Deep Injection Well Disposal


BRADENTON -- At Tuesday's BOCC workshop, commissioners were introduced to the Utility Department project: North Manatee County Injection System. With toxic water disposal becoming more problematic every day, an increasing number of communities are turning to deep-well injection for their reclaimed, industrial and high-salt content water disposal. Opposition to the process is easy to find and meeting the requirements are difficult, but Utility Department Director Dan Gray says it can more than pay for itself.


The proposal is a series of multi-level injection wells that can service the disposal of many types of toxic effluents, with the most toxic going to the deeper injection wells. There are three locations for the proposed wells, all of which are inside the enterprise zone. Two are on Port Manatee property and the third is east, across U.S. 41, on HRK Holdings property, next to the closed and problematic Piny Point phosphate plant. 


The class 1 and class 5 injection wells to be used are designed to mainline toxic fluids through the "Suwannee Limestone" the "Ocala Limestone" and beyond the "Avon Park Formation" (Types of Undifferentiated Surficial Deposits) that separates the different aquifers from vertical transmission into "Permeable Zone C" (Beyond a depth of 1400 feet).


The water at that depth is too toxic for human consumption and too costly to clean up. But beyond using these wells to dispose of effluent generated by Manatee County industries, hopes are to invite other industries in the region to use the wells to dispose of their material, cutting their costly disposal fees, while offsetting the cost of what Manatee County generates.


The investment for injection wells, blending tank and a transmission main to complete the process, is an estimated $24 million. After the presentation, commissioners focused on not only recouping initial cost, but possibly profiting from the operation down the line.


Jeff Goodwin, the Wastewater Division Manager who presented the powerpoint to the commission said, "We would be partnering with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), who would be picking up 30 percent of the cost." 


Gray added, "When we can add wells, it can be a high-level asset.


County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said, "In the next few months, we will take you through the details."


Gray concluded by announcing, "When we return, we will bring the geologist and hydrologist with us."    


The issue will be taken up and voted on at a future BOCC meeting. 


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