HAVANA, Fla. (WMBB) – A grant from the Northwest Florida Water Management District helped the City of Marianna construct a stormwater treatment system that will provide re-used water for irrigation needs on the Chipola College campus while also protecting the Chipola River.
The District’s grant of $671,340 helped pay to construct a 6.75-acre stormwater pond at the north end of the campus. The pond will retrofit a currently untreated watershed and make treated stormwater available to irrigate 7.22 acres on the campus. This will result in the reduction in the use of groundwater for irrigation needs while improving water quality discharging to the nearby Chipola River.
“The Chipola River plays such an important role in the economy and quality of life for residents in Jackson County,” said John Alter, Secretary of the District’s Governing Board who represents Jackson County. “Our Water Supply Development Grant program has provided millions of dollars in recent years to help smaller communities throughout northwest Florida and we take tremendous pride in funding these types of projects that make such a positive impact.”
The stormwater pond will treat approximately 50 percent (or 192 acres) of the campus’ drainage basin. The system will create approximately 2.73 million gallons annually of re-used water to be used for irrigation on the campus.
“Northwest Florida has always been my home and I know just how special the Chipola River is to our area,” said State Sen. George Gainer, who represents Jackson County. “I appreciate the District and the City of Marianna working together to protect the Chipola River.”
“This is a project that just makes sense in so many ways – from treating stormwater before it reaches the Chipola River to taking advantage of re-used water to irrigate the campus,” said State Rep. Brad Drake, who represents Jackson County. “I know the people who use the Chipola River for recreational purposes will certainly appreciate the water management district working with the city and the college to complete this project.”
The stormwater project also received $792,582 in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and $20,000 from Chipola College.
“The City of Marianna and Chipola College both have been very excited about participating in this project, which will enhance the quality of water in the Chipola River, a Pristine Water Way designated by the State of Florida,” said Dr. Sarah Clemmons, President of Chipola College.
The funding is part of the District’s Water Supply Development Grant program, which launched in 2013 and has awarded funding for 70 projects totaling more than $21.6 million. These projects have helped local governments and utilities make potable water distribution system improvements, replace aging infrastructure, evaluate and develop alternative water supply projects, and address local drinking water quality issues. Two-thirds of the projects are in rural or financially disadvantaged communities.