A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cowabunga Cocoa Beach!

This article in Florida Today describes the unthinkable -injecting treated wastewater in a well in Cocoa Beach, Florida for later recovery using Aquifer Storage and Recovery methods. Why are they proposing such a radical crazy idea? Because "...the city must find a way to dispose of excess treated water instead of disposing of it in the Banana River. The city is under pressure from the state to reduce the amount of water it's permitted to dump into the river". Recalling the Groan Zone described in previous postings,  not everyone was happy with the proposed approach, but those in favor had pretty compelling reasons.

"Why can't we make more general use of the gray water system, for such things as washing cars?" resident Tim Kingaby asked the panel of engineers and geologists. "In 20 years we're going to be fighting over water. It won't be oil."

This approach to water reuse is not new. Recall Sapphirewater invented by the Australians. They were experimenting with managed recharge of stormwater that was naturally treated underground for later recovery. We are seeing something very similar in Umatilla County, Oregon where there are experiments underway using Columbia River water for managed recharge of a shallow aquifer for underground storage and later recovery as described here and here.

Could this happen in the hydroconservative parts of Oregon such as the Willamette Valley? Maybe so. I suggested this idea to the City of Corvallis who is considering whether or not to either reuse an old gravel pit to dispose of their treated wastewater for cooling prior to discharge to the Willamette River, or reuse the treated wastewater for growing fodder at the OSU Dairy and perhaps managed recharge of the shallow aquifer underlying the City. A Rainbow Water Coalition exclusive is this hand drawn diagram of the local geology where the Dairy would be the potential area of reuse (copyright reserved). The Fischer Pit would be the reused gravel pit. Either approach discharges water to the shallow aquifer before ultimately discharging to the Willamette River - the regional hydraulic sink.

Perhaps another Groan Zone situation as the debate focuses on what is really reused - a gravel pit or the water? Or perhaps another opportunity for Oregon to continue to lead the nation in creative applications of managed recharge and Aquifer Storage and Recovery since the state already has many permitted sites for managed recharge, just not using stormwater or treated wastewater.

So Cowabunga hydrodudes! This cross-continental aqua-reuse party could be awesome! Or the aqua-reuse party could become an awesome political melodrama.

"If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody's mercy, then you will probably write melodrama".
~ American Dramatist Lillian Hellman

1 comment:

  1. YEAH!! Super way mega exciting!! Thank You Todd Jarvis for the gravy updates yo! summer term! i'm puttin myself to work for you. Whatever you need, light the way grey robot