- Company: Bergeron Land Development, Inc.
- Industry: General Building
- Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
- Expected Completion Date: 2018
- Project Website
Stormwater treatment areas (STAs) are constructed wetlands that remove and store nutrients. They play an important role in protecting and restoring America’s Everglades. The purpose of the STA 1W Expansion #1 is to improve water quality discharges to the Everglades Protection Area by helping to balance nutrient rich flows and loads to meet the Water Quality Based Effluent Limit (WQBEL) that will achieve compliance with the State of Florida's numeric phosphorus criterion in the EPA, while minimizing implementation costs to the extent possible. https://www.sfwmd.gov/recreation-site/stormwater-treatment-area-1-west-sta-1w Embankments • Degrading the existing embankment (14,800 feet) along the northeast border to allow uniform flow from existing STA 1W Cell 5B into Cell 6 of the expansion area. • Construction of a perimeter embankment (48,700 feet) along the north, south, east and west sides. • Construction of discharge canal embankments (10,150 feet) to separate the treatment cells from the discharge canal. • Construction of internal separation embankments (14,460 feet) that will divide Cell 6 from Cell 7 and Cell 7 from Cell 8. • Construction of internal FPL Access embankment (8,000 feet) to coincide with relocation of existing FPL Transmission Lines. • Approximately 96,000 feet (18 miles) of embankment work. Canals • Construction of new collection canals (31,700 feet) along the west boundary of the expansion cells from north to south conveying flow to the discharge canal. • Construction of a new spreader canal (17,300 feet) to convey flow from the cells of the existing STA 1W to Cell 7 and Cell 8. • Construction of a new discharge canal (28,300 feet) along the west side to convey treated water south to the southern property boundary and east to the G-310 outflow pump station. • Construction of a seepage canal (7,000 feet) that runs along the southern boundary. • Approximately 84,300 feet (16 miles) of canal construction. Structures • Construction of four gated concrete box culverts with slide gates with electric motors. • Construction of six overflow weirs. • Construction of five outflow vertical roller gate spillways (triple gated). • Construction of fourteen 12’x4’ concrete box culverts to convey flow through the Florida Power and Light (FPL) transmission line embankment in Cell 8. • Approximately 7,000 cubic yards of concrete for water control structures. Triple Gated Spillway Control Structure http://3cconstructioncorp.com/portfolio-posts/sfwmd-sta-1-w-expansion-structure-g- Double Box Culvert http://3cconstructioncorp.com/portfolio-posts/sfwmd-sta-1-w-expansion-structure-g-
What impact does this project have on America?
America’s Everglades is a one-of-a-kind network of natural resources that makes up the largest subtropical wilderness east of the Mississippi River, and the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The Everglades is home to dozens of endangered species such as the Florida panther, American crocodile, and snail kite; it is renowned for wading birds and wildlife. Its unique mosaic of sawgrass marshes, freshwater ponds, prairies, and forested uplands support rich plan and wildlife. It provides important foraging and breeding habitat for more than 400 species of birds, includes the most significant breeding grounds for wading birds in North America and is a major corridor for migration.The STA projects are key to preserving and improving this unique ecosystem, specifically the Florida Everglades. The STAs treat agricultural runoff, reducing the nutrient load (i.e.: nitrogen and phosphorous) that would be released in South Florida’s waterways. Excess nutrients can have many harmful environmental impacts including the extreme reduction of native plants, animals, and birds. The overload of nutrients cause noxious algae blooms, fish kills, and many other negative impacts. Aside from the environmental impacts, the effects of excess nutrients are not aesthetically pleasing to locals or visitors. Florida is one of the top travel destinations in the world and the state relies heavily on the influx of visitors to drive its economy. Each year over one million people from all over the world visit the Everglades. Preserving this natural wonder will only strengthen world relations.
South Florida's 52,000 acres of STAs have prevented more than 2,600 metric tons of phosphorus from entering the Everglades, reducing phosphorus loads by 70 percent since 1994.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
The sheer size of the project is the biggest obstacle. Constant logistical adjustments and the demand for a great number personnel/equipment are daily topics of conversation to ensure production is at its highest rate possible. Round trip for onsite hauling distances can be upwards of 20 miles per trip. Due to the size of the project, both based on the project area and project quantities. Massive amounts of equipment are required. With gigantic CAT 390s excavating up to 7 cubic yards per scoop, working with even larger 45 ton articulated end dumps, Bergeron is able to excavate and haul up to 7500 cubic yards per day per excavator. With the large equipment and large quantities of equipment, it is vital that Bergeron is constantly revising their hauling routes and use of equipment to assure that production is at its peak. On a single day, there have been upwards of 110 personnel onsite, ranging from dozer operators, mechanics, carpenters, concrete finishers, electricians, crane operators, laborers, etc., operating over 50 pieces of equipment. With Bergeron having the bulk, as many as 70 personnel are running over 35 machines. A beneficial byproduct of the STAs is the creation of wetlands, similar to the habitat in the Everglades. This STA will be home to thousands of birds, fish, insects, etc. that call the Everglades home. However, since this is an expansion to an existing STA adjacent to the project, Bergeron encountered many of this wildlife on a daily basis. Sightings of massive alligators, venomous snakes, and pesky insects are a daily, sometimes hourly occurrence onsite. Bergeron has trained its employees and subcontractors on how to cope with sharing the area with the local inhabitants.
In addition, South Florida’s geology, being an ancient seabed, is largely limestone, creating 10 foot deep and 45 to 110 foot wide canals required over 75,000 linear feet of blasting. This type of blast required detailed and strict placement of explosives and rigid safety precautions for construction crews, the environment, and wildlife.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
As previously mentioned the wildlife found in the Everglades call the surrounding areas home. Bergeron must be aware of huge reptiles, massive (and sometimes venomous) snakes, and deal with thousands of different types of insects. At the same time, Bergeron must not affect or harm any of the hundreds of protected species of birds, snakes, or wildlife, that are found throughout the South Florida region. Bergeron has received training on dealing with the dangerous and protected species. Our subcontractors receive the same training and are not allow on-site until they are trained. One constant risk/danger for any project in Florida is the heat and the humidity. Assuring the onsite personnel have plenty of water to drink and are not subject working in an area that could lead to a heat stroke are just a few of the precautions that Bergeron takes to provide a safe work environment.
Blasting is always a high risk, for the 75,000 linear feet of blasting a 500 foot radius perimeter is maintained around each blast zone to prevent any personnel or equipment from being damaged by flying debris. Communications by radio and a sweep of the area is coordinated prior to each blast. Standard PPE (Hardhats, eye protection and safety vests) are worn at all times.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
Recycling is of great importance to this project. The excavations are creating massive amounts of materials. Rather than hauling off-site and brining in new material, much of which could contain plant matter that would be injurious to the Everglades, Bergeron has developed two (2) specific recycling plans.
First the excavated material from the canals and other structures is being used onsite for the millions of cubic yards of fill material, lime rock material, and riprap required to construct the system of canals and levees. Aside from the concrete and metal products needed for the water control structures, the project will not require the importation of material, essentially recycling the material in the area.
Secondly, a section of the interior portion of the site is considered contaminated material (muck). This area served as a portion of the treatment area for the water. Bergeron used a soil inversion process to treat the muck. The soil inversion process performed onsite relinquishes the need to export the copper contaminated muck and import suitable substrate for plant growth. Our soil inversion process involves the use of large tractors and specialized equipment to till the soil to a minimum depth of 36 inches and mixing it in order to ensure that the copper contamination is properly mixed and buried a minimum of 6 inches below the surface. Copper contamination is not a structural hazard but an environmental one. Mixing and burying this soil ensures that surface dwelling animals and insects, such as earth worms or snails, don’t ingest the copper. As birds and larger animals eat these contaminated worms and insects they too risk dying from high copper toxicity levels. It is a delicate process of tilling and testing for appropriate levels in order to keep the environment and ecosystem safe and clean even at the lowest level.