Proactive efforts launched by Titusville’s Water Resources this weekend will reduce the potential of overflow from Sand Point Park’s two stormwater ponds during the upcoming wet season.
On Saturday, Water Resources’ crews are scheduled to begin slowly pumping water from the east stormwater pond over an earthen dam to the outfall until the water level equalizes between the two. The dam will then be removed. Once the east pond’s level has been successfully reduced, water from the west stormwater pond will be pumped over the second dam to the east pond to reduce its water level. Titusville anticipates that by providing a controlled outflow from the ponds to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) will minimize any impacts. If the levels in the ponds are not reduced, a severe storm could cause a massive overflow event that would have a greater detrimental effect on the lagoon.
The nutrient levels in the two stormwater ponds at Sand Point Park were impacted by a sewer force main leak this past December. At that time, two earthen dams were constructed in order to contain the water contaminated from the leak and allow the natural treatment processes to work so as to reduce the impact to the IRL. As Florida enters its wet season, May through October, thunderstorms and severe weather experienced during this period could exponentially increase the flow of stormwater into the ponds causing uncontrolled discharges to overflow into the IRL.
Although FDEP has not yet issued a consent order to Titusville outlining the corrective actions needed as a result of the force main leak, Titusville Water Resources has already begun to take steps to rehabilitate and improve the Sand Point stormwater ponds. Although as early as late February sampling from all of the ponds and the IRL reflected that fecal coliform bacteria levels had returned to normal levels, with the onset of the wet season Water Resources has begun to resample the ponds for bacteria, as well as Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus. Results from the sampling are posted on Water Resources’ pages on the City’s website.
The City will also be installing beemats in the ponds. Beemats are essentially a floating mat planted with various plants whose roots take up the nutrients in the water (much like a floating wetland). The mature plants are harvested to prevent the sequestered nutrients from re-entering the water when the plants die and decompose.
Currently the west pond contains duckweed, a tiny floating plant. Duckweed provides food for waterfowl and fish, as well as habitat. However, in order to prevent it from having negative effects on the water quality, it must be managed, which is included in the City’s management plan for the Sand Point’s stormwater ponds.
In addition, Water Resources is proposing hiring a consultant to assess the water quality of the ponds and their treatment efficiency in order to determine the potential for long-term nutrient loading from the ponds to the Indian River and what (if any) management actions are necessary. The work order will be presented at the upcoming April 27 Titusville City Council meeting.