Gainesville Regional Utilities is in the process of designing the Southwest Nature Park. The park will have a custom designed wetland system that will receive reclaimed water from the Kanapaha Water Reclamation Facility. The high quality water will be filtered through the wetland system and be safely reabsorbed into the aquifer. The recharged water will help improve flows in the Lower Santa Fe River and its springs. The wetland will also provide new wildlife habitat and passive recreational opportunities for the community.
Alachua County asked GRU to collect water samples from wells on properties within 500-feet of the park property boundary during the design phase of the project to get a baseline characterization of water quality prior to the park construction. GRU is offering additional sampling outside of this 500-feet area for interested property owners. The Florida Department of Health recommends that well owners test their wells each year (Private Well Testing | Florida Department of Health (floridahealth.gov)). Participation is voluntary and the participants agreeing to this sampling must be the property owners.
The timeframe for well sampling is late February and mid-March 2024. Individual well results will be provided to their respective residents within approximately 8 weeks after sampling. Please note, due to Florida’s public records law, the results may become public information.
Wells within 2,000-feet from the park property will be sampled for the standard Department of Health water quality parameters. Homeowners will collect their own samples using bottles provided by the sampling team. We will coordinate pickup of those sample bottles for delivery to the laboratory. Instructions will be provided to the participants detailing how and when to collect the samples.
Wells within 500-feet of the park property will be sampled as outlined in the Alachua County Special Use Permit for this project – which includes the standard Department of Health water quality parameters. These samples will be collected by experienced professionals. The Project Team will coordinate with homeowners to schedule a date and time to have access onto your property for sampling. If your pressure tank is internal to your residence, then access into your home or garage may be required.
GRU would like to perform additional sampling to provide a general characterization of the water quality in the area by randomly selecting a total of three wells within defined geographic areas and sampling them for a larger suite of water quality parameters. The three geographic areas include one well within 500-feet of the park property, one well nearer to Parker Road, and one well in the northwest area of the Parker Place neighborhood. You will be notified if your house is randomly selected and provided the opportunity to participate in the additional sampling.
Homeowners of properties farther than 500-feet from the park property boundary will collect their own samples using bottles provided by the sampling team. We will coordinate pickup of those sample bottles for delivery to the laboratory before 3:30 PM on the day of sampling.
For properties within the 500-feet of the park property boundary, sampling will be performed by experienced professionals. Access onto your property will be requested, and a date and time to sample will be scheduled in advance of the sampling event. If your pressure tank is internal to your residence, then access into your home or garage may be required. The sampling process will require about an hour of time, and the sampling team will be present for this duration.
The testing process consists of filling laboratory-provided test kit bottles with water from your well. The water should be taken from the closest spigot to the well, which may be outside next to your well or may be a faucet within your home depending on how the plumbing was constructed. For the safety of the sampling team, we ask that pets are restrained or kept away from the sampling location during sampling.
The sampling team will follow State and Federal standard sampling procedures to guard against sample contamination. These procedures require purging or flowing water out of the spigot for about 15 minutes before sampling to flush out stagnant water sitting in the piping system. The sampling team will fill a set of special bottles provided by the testing laboratory. Each bottle is intended for the analysis of specific compounds defined by the permitting agencies. The sampling team will also be taking notes about the sampling on forms.
If you participate in the well sampling program, the water quality data from your sample will be provided to you. The sampling results will be made available to you within about 8 weeks depending on the overall sampling schedule. Your sampling results will be presented in a brief letter along with how your results compare to other results in the area. You are welcome to contact GRU or Health Department staff to discuss your results.