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Coastal Wetlands Rehydration Pilot

Biscayne Bay is a shallow subtropical estuary that is an important natural and economic resource. The historic groundwater and surface water flows to Biscayne Bay have been dramatically changed by man-made alterations such as farmland drainage and the creation and operation of the Central and Southern Florida (CS&F) Project canal system.

Although the total impact of these changes is not fully understood, it is recognized that the freshwater flows necessary for a healthy estuary have been altered to the point that it is causing an ecological impact.

With the restoration of more natural freshwater flow patterns, including sufficient quantity, timing and distribution of overland water flows, it is expected that native flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species, will benefit.

If action is not taken to restore hydrologic flows to Biscayne Bay and its coastal wetlands, the ecosystem will continue to decline.

The Central and Southern Florida Project Comprehensive Review Study Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, also known as the Restudy or Yellow Book, recognized the value of Biscayne Bay and the importance of restoring its estuarine ecosystem.

The Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project (BBCW) was thus selected as one of components of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which was approved by Congress as part of the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) of 2000.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) also recognized the importance of restoring Biscayne Bay and incorporated Phase 1 of the BBCW, consisting of the Deering Estate and Cutler Wetlands Flow Way components, into the SFWMD Acceler8 Program.

The Restudy, however, determined there would not be enough water in the natural system to restore Southern Biscayne Bay and the coastal wetlands. Because of this lack of freshwater the CERP planned to provide additional water to Biscayne Bay and the coastal wetlands through the South Miami-Dade Wastewater Reuse project.

The South Miami-Dade Wastewater Reuse project proposed to provide superior quality wastewater treatment by adding additional treatment capabilities to the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department's (WASD) existing South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWTP).

Because of concern over water quality and the associated treatment technologies that would be required to attain water quality high enough to discharge into Biscayne Bay's Outstanding Florida Waters, a Wastewater Reuse Pilot Project was established as part of CERP.

The Wastewater Reuse Pilot Project proposed researching the treatment necessary to achieve the water quality criteria needed to discharge reclaimed wastewater into natural areas, determining the level of advanced treatment necessary to achieve said level of water quality (Part 1), and constructing a pilot project to demonstrate that the appropriate level of treatment can be attained on a consistent basis (Part 2).

Although Part 1 of the Wastewater Reuse Pilot Project was completed, Part 2 of this CERP project has been placed on hold.

Miami-Dade County proposes to further investigate the applicability of using highly treated wastewater effluent to replace the historic freshwater flows that once were discharged into the coastal wetlands of Biscayne Bay. The Pilot Project will consist of constructing a high level wastewater treatment system that will provide additional treatment to the effluent produced by the current treatment process at the WASD's South District Wastewater Treatment Plant.

2009 documents

2007 documents

Conceptual Plan and Basis of Design - November 2007

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Back to Top Page Last Edited: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:11:30 PM
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