Altamonte Springs reclaiming millions of gallons of I-4 runoff rainwater
Sprinklers have been working hard during this unusually hot and dry November weather, which also serves as a reminder our water supply is not endless.
"In Florida, water is becoming more and more scarce," said Altamonte Springs City Manager Frank Martz.
When heavy rain falls on I-4 through Altamonte Springs, so much water drains off into nearby Cranes Roost Park, enough to fill several Olympic-size swimming pools.
All of that water was draining off and going directly into the Little Wekiva River. City officials said that was polluting the river with nitrogen and phosphorus.
Now, the stormwater goes to a city treatment plant that filters and treats the stormwater runoff.
Martz said that will save the city about $800,000 a year.
"We save water, we remove nutrients from the water, and we're actually saving a great deal of money for our residents," said Martz.
"If they're saving money, it should reduce our taxes, or at least not increase our taxes," said homeowner David Bruce.
The new water treatment plan is called "A-FIRST," which stands for Altamonte Springs–FDOT Integrated Reuse and Stormwater Treatment.
City officials said the plan creates a new supply of 4.5 million gallons of reclaimed water a day, eliminates the need for a new retention pond, and saves the state $15 million in construction costs for the I-4 Ultimate project.
The city also built a six-mile pipeline to Apopka that will send some of its new reclaimed water to help the city deal with its growing need for water.
City officials said they hope the one-of-a-kind treatment system will become a blueprint for other cities and agencies across Florida — and around the nation — that are looking to increase their water supply.
Altamonte Springs city leaders planned to officially unveil the new water treatment system Friday at the new treatment plant at the San Sebastian Trailhead. The event starts at 10 a.m.