Lane Ranger: Odd things floating in retention pond
Published: Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 9:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 9:49 p.m.
Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson called about some large, square and unfamiliar objects he saw in a stormwater retention pond on Newberry Road at Fletcher’s Mill subdivision west of Interstate 75.
He was curious about them, adding that if he is wondering what they are, others likely are too.
It turns out the objects are a new kind of system to control duckweed through the use of floating plants, said Gina Busscher, district spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
“Those are floating islands with plants in them that are being used to control the duckweed in our retention pond. The plants are designed to draw out the nutrients and phosphorous in the water that the duckweed feeds on,” Busscher said in an email. “Once the plants get too high, they will be replaced or cut back. These ‘floating treatment wetlands’ were placed earlier this year as a research project by the University of Central Florida. They take water samples on a regular basis to determine the effectiveness. We believe there are three ponds being tested in the state and our area was chosen as one.”
Three floating plastic mats of 550 square feet each were anchored into the pond. The mats have holes into which plants are placed.
The objective of this study is to evaluate how well the floating treatment wetlands draw out nutrients and how much maintenance is needed to keep them operating efficiently, according to a document on the project.
Meanwhile, Earl Bergadine wrote about some metal plates that are 4- to 5-feet-wide in the southbound lane of the 3200 block of Waldo Road.
Busscher said the plates are covering a portion of Waldo Road that was dug out to fix an asphalt settlement problem. Crews will have to drill and inject an expansive foam into the ground to stabilize the loose soil. The work should be done soon, she added.