Marine Resources Council and Applied Ecology, Inc. completed a two-year, legislatively funded groundwater wastewater study to help Brevard County Natural Resources Department prioritize areas for wastewater improvements.
The study involved monthly sampling of 45 groundwater wells that were strategically placed on properties near the Indian River Lagoon that were natural areas, on septic systems, had municipal sewer, or were on sewer and also received reclaimed wastewater for irrigation. Samples from the wells are sent to the lab for nutrient, bacteria, and isotope analysis.
There were many interesting results of this study and the associated modeling efforts. One unexpected finding was that communities receiving reclaimed irrigation water are just as polluting as septic communities. This means a couple of things:
- If you have reclaimed irrigation water, you certainly do NOT need to fertilize! There is plenty of fertilizer in the water already, so you can save your money and time.
- It doesn’t make sense to hook homes with septic tanks up to the sanitary sewer if the municipality is going to send the discharge water back out for irrigation. There will be no reduction in nitrogen in groundwater if this is the case.
- These groundwater nitrogen (TN) concentrations are very high! There is a lot of nitrogen entering the lagoon though groundwater!
The final Brevard County Groundwater Monitoring and Modeling Report is linked here.