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Indian River Lagoon South restoration project on track for June 2021 completion

Pictured is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District construction worksite of the C-44 Indian River Lagoon South Reservoir taken on Wednesday, Nov. 20. U.S. Army Photo by Maya Jordan

Posted on December 8, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District’s multi-billion dollar Indian River Lagoon South (IRL-S) construction of the C-44 component is due for completion June 2021.

Team members and visitors met with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, West Palm Beach resident engineer Stephen Montjoy for a worksite visit.

Initially awarded in September 2015, the reservoir project with pump station, Stormwater Treatment Area, intake canal and reservoir considered, the whole C-44 project is more than 86 percent complete.

The lead general contractor for the project is Barnard Construction Inc. headquartered in Bozeman, Montana.

The reservoir is nestled in Martin County.

“The purpose of the project is to run some of the runoff from the Indian River Lagoon South drainage basin, through a stormwater treatment area to treat the water. This will reduce nitrogen and phosphorous and other compounds in the runoff water,” said Montjoy.

The water will be distributed into the C-44 Canal which flows out into the estuaries located in the city of Stuart. Project components consist of Intake Canal, Reservoir, Pump Station, System Discharge and the Stormwater Treatment Areas

The reservoir will enable the storage of water, the pump station will pump the water from the intake canal into the reservoir. Whereas the system discharge canal will enable basin runoff treated water within the STA to discharge into C-44 canal and flow into the St. Lucie Estuary.

As a result, freshwater will flow into the C-44 canal and the St. Lucie Estuary. Whereas, the intake canal will convey basin runoff into the reservoir’s pump station.

Montjoy states, “The idea is that we need a reservoir because of the tropical climate of South Florida. We have a lot of rain in the summer and not enough rain in the winter. We need to have a consistent flow through those stormwater treatment area in order to maintain the appropriate level of vegetation that will treat the water.”

“The reservoir acts as a storage area for millions of gallons of water that will ultimately flow through the stormwater treatment area,” Montjoy said.

The C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area project is the first component of the project, making it one of the largest first generation projects apart of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.

The reservoir is the largest water storage component of the C-44 project.

Furthermore, the C-44 project will have the capability of pumping 1,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water, and 6,300 acres of STA.

The reservoir covers an area of 3,400-acres with a damn height of approximately 30 feet above natural grade, which allows a pool depth of approximately 15 feet. The reservoir will provide 50,600 acre-feet (16.5 billion gallons) of water storage. The reservoir’s area takes up the equivalent space of four of New York City’s Central Park. The storage amount equals approximately 18 Superdome stadiums.

Collaboratively, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the non-federal partner, the South Water Management District are looking to restore and revitalize the natural habitat of the area by capturing, storing, and treating local runoff from the adjacent basin.

“This is the first U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built reservoir that feeds into a stormwater treatment area,” Montjoy said.

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