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Lakewood Ranch filtration project set to begin

Engineer says SMR will break ground in March on the water filtration pilot study.

Sarasota civil engineer Steve Suau told the audience at the Feb. 18 LWR Talks lecture series that his water filtration project in partnership with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the University of Florida and the Southwest Florida Water Management District will begin by early March.

The project, which aims to produce more usable irrigation water for Lakewood Ranch, was expected to break ground in January at a 2.5-acre site near the intersection of White Eagle Boulevard and Old Pope Road but has been slightly delayed.

SMR will dig a basin to hold reclaimed water from Manatee County. About 1.5 million gallons will run through the filtration system each day.

Water pumped into the basin will seep through filters made of wood chips and saw dust and then through a filter of biochar, a substance created from heating carbon-based materials, such as wood, in the absence of oxygen. The water then will be released into a holding lake.