EUSTIS — For the past several years, the Lake County Stormwater Section of the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, has been biding its time completing smaller, but needed, projects waiting for the opportunity to make a greater impact with larger initiatives.
The Stormwater Section is funded through a countywide millage of 0.4984. This annual property tax grosses about $1.6 million. In 2008, the Section completed the construction of several improvements, such as:
• Elbert Street retrofit, near Lake Minnehaha, completed in July at the cost of $45,000;
• East Dewey Robbins erosion and outfall project completed in May for $35,000;
• Old Chisholm Trail outfall project, near Lake Yale, completed in December for $95,000; and
• Shore Drive outfall project, near Johns Lake, completed in March for $35,000.
According to Mary Hamilton, Stormwater Project Manager, these types of small projects typically only prevent several pounds of pollutants from entering lakes. After years of saving stormwater taxes and completing lengthy design work, the Lake County Stormwater Section is looking to thwart greater amounts of pollutants from entering lakes with larger and more expensive projects.
“Small projects can be completed annually, but for the bigger ones, we need to have money up front,” Hamilton said. “[For larger projects], it takes a lot of time for design and acquisition, but we are now ramped up and ready to build.”
Large projects expected to begin in 2009 include (estimated cost):
• Hollondel Road Stormwater Pond ($2 million) — The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) purchased the 17.5-acre property for about $930,000. The proposed eight-acre pond will treat stormwater runoff from the Hawthorne Village community and a portion of County Road 48 before it reaches Lake Harris. The project went out for bid in January.
• Getford Road Drainage Improvements ($2.5 million) — Construction is scheduled for summer on this joint project with the City of Eustis. The 10-acre pond is in final design with a proposed trail around the perimeter.
• Dead River Stormwater Pond & Restoration Project ($2.5 million) — This 8.5-acre site was a joint purchase between Stormwater and the Public Lands Management Section. Construction of a seven-acre pond on the site is expected to begin this summer. Permitting is currently underway with SJRWMD and the bidding process is scheduled for April. The project will improve Lake Harris water quality as it will treat stormwater runoff from the Imperial Terrace community and a portion of Dead River Road.
For more information about the Stormwater Section, call (352) 483-9000.