VENICE – The city of Venice will concentrate on several island stormwater drainage projects as the next big step in an effort to improve water quality.
City Engineer Kathleen Weeden and engineers Jenna Phillips and Gary Serviss with Taylor Engineering briefed the Venice City Council Tuesday on the direction the city will take, with respect to the city’s 28 stormwater drainage outfalls on the island of Venice – including 10 that funnel stormwater into the Gulf of Mexico.
About half of those 10 outfalls have different levels of treatment to improve water quality.
The city of Venice has been working to improve runoff since the 1990s but started an aggressive effort to clean up city stormwater runoff in the aftermath of the economically devastating 2018 red tide bloom.
The testing looked at total suspended solids as well as levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and fecal coliform.
Serviss said current results in that study “pretty much confirmed that nutrients should be a focus of future stormwater projects.”
The city will expand its monitoring efforts to include the Hatchett Creek Basin to determine water quality before it enters city limits.
Design on a current project, which would deal with Outfalls No. 1 and No. 2 should be complete at the end of this month.
In addition there are six other priority projects that will be paid for out of about $4.3 million that the city has earmarked in its five-year capital improvement program.
“This is a very good start and you’re headed in the right direction but you confirmed what you said back then,” Vice Mayor Rich Cautero said, referencing the start of the process in 2018. “This is not going to happen overnight.”
Cautero expressed concern that unless other governments are equally responsive, the city’s efforts will be cancelled out.
Phillips noted that while other municipalities are evaluating stormwater treatment, “my experience is Venice has been very proactive with it.”
The combination of Outfall 1, which is on the beach near Granada Avenue and Outfall, 2, which is near Alhambra Road, which would divert the stormwater flow into a swale system between those two pipes.
The next major project near Outfall 18 and the Bella Costa condominiums, would put in a baffle box and underwater storage and treatment vault to better filter water from a 38-acre area, including Nokomis Avenue.
A baffle box slows down water flow so solids can settle out and not discharge into the gulf or bay.
Also, on the northern part of the city, at Outfall 14, plans call for a baffle box to help improve treatment of a 138-acre basin.
The city is also planning on repairing and elevating the Tarpon Center Drive seawall,…