August 21, 2017
Restoring the Everglades – with PENETRON Technology
In August 2017, the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the completion of the St. Lucie River (C44) Reservoir project in Florida – thanks to concrete structures treated with PENETRON ADMIX. The C-44 reservoir is only one of many ongoing projects by the District that are helping revitalize the Everglades – a crucial and unimaginably large Florida ecosystem
The South Florida Water Management District is responsible for managing and protecting the water resources of South Florida by improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems. A key part of this plan is the revitalization of the Everglades – at over 730 square miles, it’s easily the largest environmental restoration project in US history. The District is also working to improve water flow in the Kissimmee River, the Kissimmee River floodplain, Lake Okeechobee and South Florida's coastal estuaries, all to help better protect water quality and to store water where it is needed across the Everglades.
Many canals of the Okeechobee Waterway drain into the St. Lucie estuary, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the USA. The natural ecosystem has become impaired as fresh water pours into the estuary through canals from Lake Okeechobee, a large shallow fresh water lake to the north. This results in reduced salinity, poor water quality, and negative impacts on aquatic life. First opened in 1937, the Okeechobee Waterway is an extensive flood control system of canals, gates and levees in the Florida Everglades that channels water into the reservoir to help attenuate flows back to the canals and to improve the overall quality of the downstream estuary. The C-44 canal, one of the primary sources of freshwater flow into the St. Lucie estuary, is the latest stage of this project.
“Embedded in the vast, open landscape of the Everglades and all of Dade County, the District projects feature vast dimensions of construction work,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group. “The quantities of building materials and the scale of the different stages of construction go far beyond anything encountered in more typical, urban projects.”
The C-44 canal project included construction of a 6,300-acre storm water treatment area and the reservoir pump station, which includes 32 miles of berms, 30 miles of canals and 63 structures; all corresponding water control and storage structures were built with waterproofed concrete.
“The C-44 canal project is only one of many environmental enhancement projects PENETRON is helping to realize in the Everglades,” adds Mr. Chen. “Most importantly, PENETRON’s crystalline technology has enabled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to overcome the challenge of constructing durable concrete structures located areas of aggressive groundwater. Most of the concrete in these water management systems is exposed to water or completely underwater.”
PENETRON ADMIX SB (in pre-measured soluble bags) was mixed into the concrete to ensure an impermeable concrete matrix. When PENETRON ADMIX is added to concrete, it permanently seals microcracks, pores and capillaries, effectively protecting the concrete against any water penetration and the effects of deterioration, even under constant hydrostatic pressure.
The C-44 canal system now captures 65% of the average annual storm water runoff in the storm water treatment area. The reservoir will hold up to 50,600 acre-feet, or 16 billion gallons, of water at an average depth of 15 feet.
“The St. Lucie River (C44) reservoir and STA project is only the latest in the South Florida Water Management District’s overall program,” adds Mr. Chen. “PENETRON is already working together with the District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on further storm water treatment areas, gated spillways and locks, and flow equalization basins.”