Southeast Advanced Water Reclamation Facility (SEAWRF) Project
Lee County Utilities is beginning the design phase for the Southeast Advanced Water Reclamation Facility (SEAWRF) Project, which is proposed to be located at 14201 Alico Road in Fort Myers, Florida. The SEAWRF project will provide the County with a 6 million gallons per day advanced water reclamation facility that can be expanded to 10 million gallons per day. The project is needed to support existing and future population in the area.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners is strategically planning and preparing for a fulltime population of 1 million residents. Residential growth is anticipated in the southeast region of the County. The SEAWRF will ensure advanced wastewater treatment infrastructure is available to support the increasing population in this area. Lee County has expanded the wastewater treatment capacity of other existing treatment facilities and a new facility is now necessary.
As service demands increase and existing assets age, the County must plan for and comply with regulatory treatment and discharge requirements that become stricter each year. Lee County remains committed to implementing measures that protect the local waterbodies, which are vital to the state’s overall quality of life, health and economy.
An advanced water reclamation facility produces a “higher quality” water by removing nutrients in addition to the normal components removed in a standard biological wastewater treatment facility. The resulting water will be safe for public reuse in landscape irrigation and other potential beneficial uses.
Water quality is a top priority of the Lee Board of County Commissioners and water quality initiatives occur year-round. Water quality affects residents and visitors alike, and everyone has an opportunity to be a part of the solution. Water quality is the driver behind the SEAWRF Project. Responsible management of wastewater is key to maintaining the County’s overall water quality.
AWT will help to further remove nutrients from the treated wastewater, or effluent. Removing nutrients from the effluent water and making it available for irrigation will help lessen the demand for potable drinking water and protect and improve Lee County’s water quality.
Wastewater treated to AWT standards:
Click here to view the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts about Nutrient Pollution information.
The SEAWRF will be designed to operate in a neighbor-friendly way with engineering controls to treat odorous air prior to release. Odor abatement technology, such as scrubbers and activated carbon filters, will be incorporated into the project. Professional licensed operations staff will operate the round-the-clock facility without detection. Lee County does this successfully at its Three Oaks facility and other facilities.
As part of the permitting process for the project, coordination will occur with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to evaluate potential impacts. Conservation measures will be used and mitigation measures provided, as necessary to offset any unavoidable impacts. The project will be largely located within previously cleared pasture, thereby minimizing potential impacts to habitat.
Wildlife surveys will be repeated prior to construction to ensure no nesting has occurred since the permitting phase. Any necessary relocation permits (i.e., gopher tortoise) will be obtained and implemented prior to the start of construction.
The wetland slough system on the eastern third of the property, containing about 33 acres, will remain as a preserve post-development, with exotic vegetation removal implemented to enhance its value for wildlife. Lee County Department of Transportation is expected to incorporate a wildlife/animal crossing for the proposed Alico Road Extension project.
The project is in the design phase.
The SEAWRF project is in the design phase. Check the project website for information about the project and future meetings. Construction is anticipated to start in 2025.
Here is how you sign up to receive information about the project!