After years of talking about using the St. Johns River as a source of water for a fast-growing state and region, Deltona will soon build a $9.5 million system to do just that — but the surface water is not for sipping.
Clearing of the site for the pump station next to the Deltona Civic Center along Lakeshore Drive is already underway.
The water, once drawn and then piped about a mile away for treatment, will not be used for drinking, however. Rather, the treated river water will be provided to the customers connected to the city’s reclaimed-water system.
“Water from Lake Monroe will not be mixed for drinking water. It will be treated and mixed with reclaimed/irrigation water for distribution to customers,” wrote Deltona spokeswoman Wendi Jackson, in response to a query from The Beacon.
Much of the water taken from the lake will also be used to recharge the aquifer that feeds Blue Spring. The initial operations of the new reclaimed-water system will involve taking about 4 million gallons from the river each day, but the system will be capable of withdrawing and treating as much as 12 million gallons per day.
“We are taking the water out of the river, treating it and putting it into injection wells,” Acting City Manager John Peters said.
Shortly after the first of the new year, a contractor for the largest city in Volusia County will start installing intake pipes — somewhat akin to big straws — off the north shore of Lake Monroe and a pump station to transmit the “raw” water to Deltona’s Water Resources Facility along Alexander Avenue. The intake pipes will be installed close to the Lake Monroe boat ramp on Lakeshore Drive, and the boat ramp will be closed, effective Jan. 3, 2022, and remain closed until the construction of the new system is finished about mid-2023. Boaters accustomed to launching from the Deltona ramp may wish to use the launch at Mariner’s Cove Park, located at 1199 Enterprise Osteen Road.
The contractor for the Deltona water project is Prime Construction Group Inc. of Orlando.
The momentum of the project picked up earlier this year, when city officials opened bids they had solicited. Forward movement on the construction was stalled because of delays in the city’s negotiations for a firm for engineering and inspection services. During the time between the bid opening in March and the presentation of the contract with Prime Construction, the company notified city leaders it could not honor the prior bid because of “worldwide product shortages and rapid price increases … since the bid opening,” as noted in a memorandum on the project.
The original bid for construction was $8.7 million, but Prime Construction informed Deltona officials it had experienced a $1.7 million increase in costs since March. Later, using a cost-reduction technique known as value engineering, the increase was cut to $805,000.
Reducing the unforeseen increase came about because of substitutions of some materials, especially pipes, for others. In addition, the City of Deltona will purchase many of the items needed for the project, thus avoiding the payment of the state sales tax.
Despite the runup in prices for materials and labor and the still-ongoing supply-chain disruptions, Peters said he does not foresee any further cost overruns on the project.
Deltona has also retained two nationally known consulting engineering firms, Mead & Hunt and Tetra Tech, for the development of the pump station, waterlines and the Water Resources Facility.