Save Our Indian River Lagoon Program Completes 75th Project

On March 16, staff from the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Program and the City of Titusville, along with federal, state, county, and city officials, met on-site to celebrate completion of the Osprey Wastewater Reclamation Facility Nutrient Removal Upgrade.

This was the 75th project completed with funding from the voter-approved Save Our Indian River Lagoon Sales Tax.

The Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan allocates funds to 383 projects to reduce and remove over 1.3 million pounds of excess nitrogen and 106,607 pounds of excess phosphorus that pollute the Indian River Lagoon each year.

The Osprey Wastewater Reclamation Facility Nutrient Removal Upgrade project improved the biological, chemical, and physical wastewater treatment processes to remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from the treated effluent water before it is sent through reuse lines to be used as irrigation. Before the recent upgrades, the reuse water contained 12.7 mg/L of nitrogen. Grass lawns absorb less than 5 to 9 mg/L of nitrogen, so any excess nitrogen leaches through the soil into the groundwater that flows underground to the lagoon and/or runs off the lawn surface into stormwater that flows to the lagoon. The treatment plant upgrades were targeted to bring the nitrogen levels to 6 mg/L thus reducing an estimated 12,286 pounds of nitrogen pollution reaching the lagoon annually. So far, the upgraded system is actually performing better than expected with the reuse water only containing around 4 mg/L of nitrogen.

The total cost of the project was just over $12 million, coming in under the projected budget of $13.5 million.

The Save Our Indian River Lagoon Program instigated the improvements by pledging $9.1 million in grant funding to the project. After that, the City secured a $1.3 million grant from St. Johns River Water Management District and $500,000 from the State of Florida. The City’s cost after all the grant reimbursements was approximately $1 million.