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As 2022’s fastest growing county1 in the fastest growing state2, Polk County has the responsibility of sustainably developing for a growing populationโ€” and meeting the major environmental challenges that follow.

One of the challenges that emerge with a growing population is the need for sustainable water resources that can produce and provide safe drinking water to numerous communities while minimizing environmental impact. Not only has the State of Florida prioritized the planning and management of sustainable water resources, but Polk County has taken steps to ensure a sustainable future for its water supply.

Photo courtesy of prwcwater.org

Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC)

In 2017, Polk Counties and its municipal governments came together to establish the Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC)โ€” an agency dedicated to developing strategies to meet the long-term water demands of Polk County while still protecting and sustaining the regional water supply.

Since PRWC’s establishment, the agency has already identified sustainable alternative water sources for Polk County and began working on developing those water supply solutions, with plans to establish two major wellfield and water supply facilities in Southeast and Western Polk County respectively3.

Photo courtesy of prwcwater.org

Southeast Wellfield & Water Supply Facility

Chastain-Skillman’s Water/Wastewater Engineering and Survey departments have played a big role in developing the Southeast Wellfield & Water Supply Facility.

We spoke with one of our water/wastewater engineers, Andre, to get some more information about our team’s involvement in the project:

“The conventional source of the water supply comes from wells which draw from the Upper Floridan Aquifer. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) sets withdrawal limits from the Upper Floridan Aquifer to protect from hazards of excessive withdrawal.”

“Limestone bedrock, common in Florida, is permeable and soluble allowing for the large storage of underground water. Over-withdrawal can result in localized dissolution of limestone, creating void spaces known as karsts. These underground void spaces can cause subsidence (ground settling) and in worse cases collapse to form sinkholes.”

Photo courtesy of usgs.gov

“Instead, the PRWC decided to drill beyond the limestone and Upper Floridan Aquifer into the Lower Floridan Aquifer. The brackish water from the Lower Floridan Aquifer requires additional treatment, therefore, the construction of a reverse osmosis water treatment plant was necessary.”

Through this project, PRWC plans to provide residents with up to 12.5 million gallons of high-quality drinking water per day. To deliver clean drinking water, PRWC is developing a water transmission pipeline that will extend across several Southeast Polk County communities, including Lake Wales, Bartow, South Lakeland, Dundee, Lake Hamilton, Haines City, and Davenport. They are also developing a 10-mile pipeline in Lake Wales to transport raw water to the treatment facility4.

Photo courtesy of prwcwater.org

The Chastain-Skillman survey team coordinated subsurface utility engineering and provided surveying services for over 70 miles of raw water main and potable transmission main for the projectโ€” including conducting a topographic survey and Specific Purpose survey, as well as providing descriptions and sketches for land acquisition and easements for the future pipeline. The Chastain-Skillman water/wastewater team is currently in the process of performing engineering design for 26 miles of the water transmission main pipeline from Lake Wales to Lakeland.

Construction is set to begin on the project in late 2024 and should be completed by 2027.

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About Chastain-Skillman

CS is a leading engineering firm headquartered in Lakeland, FL, with satellite offices in Orlando, FL, and Nashville, TN. Established in Lakeland in 1950, our company provides Civil Engineering, Water/Wastewater Engineering, Land Surveying, Geology/Hydrogeology, and Construction Management/Inspection services.

At CS, we treasure our role in creating thriving communities, always respecting the impact our work has on their foundations and their futures. For more information, visit chastainskillman.com.

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