Inlet Replacements Can Help to Improve Water Quality
Cape Coral is applying new techniques during the Utilities Extension Projects (UEP's) to improve stormwater management. Existing open throat catch basins are being replaced with raised grate inlets with 3-inch diameter openings. These openings increase storage and treatment of stormwater within roadway swales. This change brings about a multitude of positive impacts to stormwater quality benefiting the adjoining canals and shorelines.
Traditional storm conveyance structures function by capturing as much runoff as possible and quickly conveying it into channels, canals, etc. The problem with this approach is that large volumes of water, carrying contaminants and surplus nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, directly discharged into waterways causing negative impacts to these waterways. The velocity and scour of these rapid discharges can also cause further damage through erosion and deposition of sediment within the waterways. Even minor rain events are unimpeded with the use of open throat inlets as they transport contaminants and unwanted nutrients into the surrounding water bodies.
Replacing large openings with a small 3-inch opening ensures that the initial flush of water is detained in the swales, allowing for increased infiltration into the surrounding soil and reducing the large volume discharge effect. The prolonged contact with vegetation provides a filtration effect that reduces sediment from the stormwater and promotes increased adsorption into the soil. This infiltration allows micro-organisms within the soil to further breakdown and remove contaminants.
While these impacts may seem small when looking at a single roadside swale, the cumulative impacts when spread over several thousand catch basins begins to add up quickly. This is especially important here in Cape Coral where the proximity of any given swales' catch basin to its canal discharge is typically 130 feet. The best part is that these new structures require little to no additional maintenance as each is equipped with an overflow grated top to allow heavy rain events to bypass the opening.
Work Progresses in North 2 UEP Area
The City's Utilities Extension Project (UEP) is responsible for the installation of water, sewer and irrigation services. This project eliminates environmentally unfriendly septic tanks and drain fields and replaces individual wells with central potable water distribution mains. These potable water mains deliver safe drinking water and high pressure water used for fighting fires. Additionally, the UEP extends the City's irrigation water distribution system, which used the City's freshwater canal system and reclaimed water for lawn watering purposes.
The current phase of the UEP is known as "North 2". The North 2 service area extends from Old Burnt Store road to just east of Del Prado Boulevard and from Pine Island Road to just North of Tropicana Parkway. North 2 will provide central water potable water, sanitary sewer and irrigation water service to over 8,900 parcels. It is a critical component in the transformation of the City of Cap Coral from a rural residential community to a modern, environmentally sensitive and self-sustaining City. The North 2 UEP consists of 11 contracts that include the installation of distribution and transmission mains (these are referred to as line work contracts), and two contracts that include the construction of master pumping stations.
Construction for the North 2 area began in October 2017 and will continue through the first quarter of 2020. The line work contracts are broken down into three phases of construction.
-- Phase I (substantial utility completion): Consists of the installation of the utility infrastructure and the placement of the first layer of asphalt pavement on City streets.
-- Phase II (final utility completion): Consists of repair and finalization of punch list items noted during the first phase.
-- Phase III (final paving completion): Consists of the installation of plumbing connections by residents and/or hired licensed plumber and placement of the second and final lift of asphalt pavement on City streets.
Despite the rainy season weather, contractors continue to make significant progress. In addition to pipe installation, construction crews continue to prioritize issues affecting streets and drainage as the wet weather continues. A total of about 4 miles of 2-lane streets have been re-paved to date. Following re-paving, contractors will begin the driveway and swale restoration process.
Mammoth or Mastodon Bone Discovered in the Cape
A bone belonging to a mammoth or mastodon was discovered during the City's North 2 Utilities Extension Project (UEP). According to Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc., which conducted a filed assessment of the fossil bone discovery, the bone could be 12,000 years old to 2.5 million years old. This discovery can be dated to a period in history when herds of mammoth, bison, antelope and horses roamed this area.
The bone fragment came from the upper bone of the trunked animal's front leg and is about one foot in length and 10 inches wide. Workers found the bone while they were digging 17 feet underground. The discovery was made near SW 19th Avenue and Pine Island Road. The assessment report indicates that it is not common to find these fossils in the Caloosahatchee River area. The report also states that there is likely a larger fossil bed in the vicinity with fossilized remains. The bone predates any human existence in the Cape Coral area. The fossilized remain will be displayed at the Cape Coral Historical Museum.
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