City Recognized by DEP for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship
The City of Pensacola’s Public Works & Facilities Department was recognized this month by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District for outstanding environmental stewardship and going above and beyond the minimum requirements to reduce impacts to the environment.
The city’s nomination highlighted stormwater projects to improve and protect water quality, with an emphasis on Bayou Chico restoration.
“As a coastal city, the City of Pensacola takes our position as a steward of the Pensacola Bay Watershed very seriously,” Public Works Director & Facilities Director Derrik Owens said. “We are always working to improve our stormwater quality and find innovative ways to benefit the environment in the process, and it is truly an honor to earn this recognition from DEP for our efforts.”
The DEP environmental stewardship awards program recognizes businesses, professional and community organizations, and local governments within DEP’s Northwest District for proactive, innovative and exceptional achievements that prevent or reduce impacts on the environment beyond measures required by permit or rule. To be considered for recognition, participants must demonstrate significant and measurable achievements that provide a direct benefit to our environment.
The award was presented to City of Pensacola Public Works & Facilities staff during DEP Northwest District’s annual open house Thursday, Dec. 12.
“On behalf of DEP and the state of Florida, I am proud to recognize the City of Pensacola for its accomplishments and environmental stewardship,” said Shawn Hamilton, director of DEP’s Northwest District. “With outstanding community partners like the City of Pensacola that go above and beyond what is required of them, we can better protect, conserve and manage Florida’s natural resources for future generations.”
The stormwater improvement projects highlighted in the City of Pensacola’s nomination not only provide a higher level of treatment, but also show the city’s innovative approach to co-locating and incorporating the stormwater projects into parks and gathering places, adding recreational, educational and economic value to the community.
The City of Pensacola’s Stormwater Management Program also improves water quality and helps to restore and sustain the biodiversity of bay systems by providing aquatic and wetland habitat for many wildlife species. Based on population and geographic size, the program is one of the most aggressive and effective retrofit programs in the state. Featured projects include:
- The Bill Gregory Park Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility Projectprovides treatment of stormwater runoff from 37 acres that previously discharged untreated stormwater into the eastern headwaters of Bayou Chico. Improvements include a two-tier treatment train system with proprietary pretreatment units upstream to remove debris prior to entering a wet detention pond. The pond is 2.5 acres in size and has an innovative approach to stormwater management and includes multiple ecological benefits. In addition to providing treatment, the pond is home to a variety of plants, birds and aquatic animal species. The Bill Gregory Park spans 5.9 acres and features two youth baseball fields utilized by parent-led youth baseball leagues. Additional elements and amenities include enhanced LED lighting, walking paths, a boardwalk, benches, extensive landscaping, parking, and passive reflection areas.
- The “R” Street at Maggie’s Ditch Stormwater Treatment Enhancement Project captures and provides an element of treatment for stormwater runoff from 225 acres of primarily commercial area previously discharging untreated runoff directly into Maggies’ Ditch, an artificial wetland tributary that discharges to the headwaters of eastern Bayou Chico. Improvements include a proprietary underground treatment unit to remove an estimated 50 percent of total suspended solids and debris/floatables prior to release to Maggie’s Ditch. It is estimated the system will remove approximately 20 tons of solids annually. The project also protects the already completed Maggie’s Ditch Wetland Enhancement Phase I and II projects.
“These awards and recognitions are a testament to the hard work of our Public Works & Facilities employees and our aggressive Stormwater Management Program, which continues to improve stormwater quality management throughout the city,” Mayor Grover Robinson said.