Funds Help Clay, St. Johns Recycle Water; Utilities Will Use $5.7 Million in State Aid to Increase Reuse Water, Typically Used on Golf Courses and Lawns

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Byline: STEVE PATTERSON

Utilities in Clay and St. Johns counties are getting $5.7 million in new state aid to help them recycle more sewer wastewater.

The money from the St. Johns River Water Management District will help pay to lay large lines for so-called "reuse water" into neighborhoods expected to grow and demand water for lawns and golf courses.

"We already have customers in the area. It'll be perfect," said David Bolam, chief engineer for the Clay County Utility Authority. His agency and the management district plan to split a $5.4 million bill to run lines from around County Road 220 south to the area around Lake Asbury.

The St. Johns project will extend reuse service along International Golf Parkway to U.S. 1 and the Palencia golf course.

The management district's governing board approved agreements to help finance both projects this week.

The projects help protect water supplies in the aquifer and the health of the St. Johns River at one stroke, said Derek Busby, who runs the management district's lower St. Johns basin program.

"It goes hand in hand," Busby said, because recycling wastewater cuts the need to use groundwater in sprinkler systems and also shunts the wastewater away from the river. …