Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Informational Video

Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Informational Video


Speaker 1: In the next few minutes, we’ll
show you one of the Plans main components, underground reservoirs utilizing a technology
called Aquifer Storage and Recovery or ASR. ASR will allow us to store large amounts of
water underground for later use by wetlands, estuaries, people, animals and farms from
the everglades to Lake Okeechobee. ASR is not new, it’s an idea that’s been around
for the past three decades in the United States. Twenty years ago some areas of Florida began
using the technology to manage the supply of municipal drinking water. ASR largely occurs
underground. If you could peel back the earth and look beneath the state of Florida, you’d
see aquifers, large geologic formations, which hold vast quantities of water. Most aquifers
near the earth’s surface contain fresh water, which can be used for drinking or irrigation.
Go deeper underground and you will find aquifers with brackish or salty water. To drink this
water, it would first need to go through a costly de-salting treatment process. Aquifer
Storage and Recovery will allow us to utilize these brackish aquifers to benefit our fresh
water supplies. It works like this, rainfall that normally
would drain into the ocean or the gulf, is instead captured in a lake or reservoir, treated
to drinking water standards and then pumped through wells underground to a pure aquifer.
The aquifer is confined above by rocks, which keep the fresh water close to the well. The
fresh water pushes away the existing brackish water, forming an underground reservoir. When
needed, the water is pumped back up from the aquifer, treated again, and then can be used
to raise surface water levels, benefit estuaries, or supplement human or agricultural water
needs. ASR should not be confused with another process
called Deep Well Injection. That process is for permanently disposing waste water, which
is injected very deep, about 3,000 feet into the boulder zone, located far below the Upper
Floridian Aquifer. ASR water is stored in the Upper Floridian Aquifer, separated from
the deeper boulder zone by 1 to 2,000 feet and numerous confining layers of dense limestone.
The chance of mixing between the two rock formations is extremely slight, not only because
the natural geological features, but also because of the location of the wells. ASR has many advantages, rainfall amounts
in Florida vary from season to season and year to year and underground storage allows
us to capture water in wet times and retrieve it later in dry times, improving our ability
to store and manage water. The wells can be located in areas where it’s
easiest to catch water, generally next to a lake, river or reservoir. In comparison,
Above Ground Reservoirs provide only short-term water storage, require purchase of large areas
of expensive land, lose much water to evaporation, and can dry up at times. The comprehensive
everglades restoration plan calls for ASR wells to be built next to Lake Okeechobee,
along the Caloosahatchee River, and in Southeast Florida. This is the first time Aquifer Storage and
Recovery has been attempted on a scale this large in terms of both the number of wells
purposed and the amount of water pumped underground. The exact number of wells and their locations
will be determined later. The Corps of Engineers and Water Management
District in consultation with an array of other agencies are conducting a regional study
and constructing three pilot projects to address technical issues and concerns. The regional
study will include scientific investigations and modeling to evaluate the performance of
the proposed full scale ASR program on the region’s underground aquifer system, related
natural ecosystem, and existing water uses. Pilot projects explore more localized issues,
such as Storage and Recovery rates. These projects are planned for the Lake Okeechobee,
Hillsboro Canal, and Caloosahatchee River areas. ASR offers great promise in aiding
the greater everglades ecosystem and enhancing South Florida’s future fresh water supplies.
If you would like to learn more about Aquifer Storage and Recovery, then please visit our
website at www.evergladesplan.org.

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