Storage of treated sewage effluent and stormwater in a saline aquifer, Pinellas Peninsula, Florida

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The Pinellas Peninsula, an area of 750 square kilometres (290 square miles) in coastal west-central Florida, is a small hydrogeologic replica of Florida. Most of the Peninsula's water supply is imported from well fields as much as 65 kilometres (40 miles) inland. Stresses on the hydrologic environment of the Peninsula and on adjacent water bodies, resulting from intensive water-resources development and waste discharge, have resulted in marked interest in subsurface storage of waste water (treated effluent and untreated storm water) and in future retrieval of the stored water for nonpotable use. If subsurface storage is approved by regulatory agencies, as much as 265 megalitres per day (70 million gallons a day) of waste water could be stored underground within a few years, and more than 565 megalitres per day (150 million gallons a day) could be stored in about 25 years. This storage would constitute a large resource of nearly fresh water in the saline aquifers underlying about 520 square kilometres (200 square miles) of the Peninsula.

The upper 1,060 metres (3,480 feet) of the rock column underlying four test sites on the Pinellas Peninsula have been explored. The rocks consist chiefly of limestone and dolomite. Three moderately to highly transmissive zones, separated by leaky confining beds, (low permeability limestone) from about 225 to 380 metres (740 to 1,250 feet) below mean sea level, have been identified in the lower part of the Floridan aquifer in the Avon Park Limestone. Results of withdrawal and injection tests in Pinellas County indicate that the middle transmissive zone has the highest estimated transmissivity-about 10 times other reported values. The chloride concentration of water in this zone, as well as in the two other transmissive zones in the Avon Park Limestone in Pinellas Peninsula, is about 19,000 milligrams per litre. If subsurface storage is approved and implemented, this middle zone probably would be used for storage of the waste water and the zone would become the most extensively used in Florida for this purpose.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Storage of treated sewage effluent and stormwater in a saline aquifer, Pinellas Peninsula, Florida
Series title Groundwater
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1977.tb03174.x
Volume 15
Issue 4
Year Published 1977
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 10 p.
First page 284
Last page 293
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