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Fort Myers Beach water reclamation facility set for major upgrade

Storm surge off Hurricane Ian led to salt water filling the facility
Posted at 10:03 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 22:03:34-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Board of Commissioners has approved an upgrade of the Fort Myers Beach Water Reclamation Facility, located off Pine Ridge near Summerlin.

This project, with a budget exceeding $200 million, aims to increase the facility's capacity and introduce treatment upgrades to enhance water quality and reduce nutrient pollution.

The approval allows the Lee County Utilities Director to forward the plan to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This step is necessary for securing state-revolving fund loans, which are needed for funding these types of extensive infrastructure projects.

The goal of this upgrade is to accommodate anticipated future growth and implement advanced treatment technologies.

The destruction caused by Hurricane Ian resulted in a storm surge of approximately 7 feet at the facility's location. The surge of salt water caused damage to the electrical systems and buildings.

Pam Keyes, Utilities Director for Lee County, highlighted the importance of the upgrade due to the hurricane damage.

"We sustained damages during Hurricane Ian, so we are also using that data for hardening our facilities and also dealing with future flooding," Keyes explained.

Keyes further noted that construction is expected to kick off in 2025, with the project completion targeted for 2028.

This renovation is the first major upgrade for the facility since 1999, nearly 25 years ago. The project is designed to extend the facility's operational capacity through 2050, ensuring it can effectively meet the region's water treatment needs for the coming decades.