THE USE OF MINED PHOSPHATE LANDS TO EXPAND REGIONAL WATER-RESOURCES AVAILABILITY ON THE WEST COAST OF FLORIDA
Journal American Society of Mining and Reclamation
This project involves the purification of reclaimed and excess surface waters by treatment through natural processes on reclaimed lands previously mined by phosphate mining companies. As a result of the mining process, the phosphate companies leave behind open mine pits, clay settling areas (CSA), and tailing sand deposits (TSD). The companies are required to reclaim the mined areas as land and lakes, wetlands, and/or pasture and agricultural lands. The basis for this project is the assumption
... is the assumption that the natural systems, in particular, wetlands, created on reclaimed CSA's followed by tailing sand filtration, will remove any organic, inorganic and microbiological contaminants in surface waters and waste waters, resulting in water that will meet drinking water standards. To store the water, the project envisions recharge to the underlying Floridan Aquifer, a regionally exteusive limestone confined ground-water system, capable of storing and transmitting large quantities of water. The projects in support of this concept have been funded by the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research. Studies have been completed on the radiological and microorganism aspects of the percolation of water through tailing sand deposits. This paper will present the results of the studies conducted so far and will describe in detail the ongoing pilot project now being constructed at a site owned and operated by Florida Power Corporation. A feasibility study has identified five project sites where a total of 7 4 million gallons per day could be harvested, treated and recharged to the Floridan Aquifer at an average cost of$ 1.1 O per 1000 gallons. This augmentation fits well in the overall regional water resources management plan for the Southern Water Use Caution Area, in which an increase of350 MGD in the regional supply to meet agricultural, industrial and public water supply demands is projected for the year 2020. Additional Keywords: Water supply development, natural treatment, surface water diversion, ground water recharge.