Fort Myers explains temporary modification in permitting

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Florida Construction News staff writer

The City of Fort Myers has issued an explanation of a temporary modification in permitting for construction of water main extensions and details of projects underway to expand water infrastructure.

On May 3, 2022, The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Lee County Department of Health directed the city to restrict applications to a specific permit to construct public water system components and extensions instead of processing general permit applications for construction of water main extensions. The direction was temporary – until the city’s raw water source can be expanded by constructing additional wells.

“By certifying general permit applications for developers or contractors to construct water main extensions to serve new developments, the city or public water system is making a commitment to supply the water necessary to meet the design water demands of the project and that the water treatment plant to which the project will be connected has the capacity necessary to meet the design water demands for the project,” the notice states.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health are concerned that with the growth and the number of development projects permitted in recent years that the city may not be able to meet the water demand generated by these projects without additional wells.

As a result, the City of Fort Myers will continue to certify applications for Specific Permits to Construct Public Water System – a process that certifies the city will supply the water necessary to meet the demands for the project, but it does not guarantee when the capacity will be available.

“By signing or certifying a specific permit application, the city is not committing that the capacity would be available at the time of signing. Depending on the applicant’s project timeline, the needed capacity may be available when the project is completed.

“Temporary water needed for construction and fire suppression purposes may be arranged with the city should a developer decide to proceed with construction under a specific permit,” the city stated.

Officials say work continues to develop the raw water capacity necessary to return to certifying applications for general permits and the city is planning a 3 MGD water treatment plant expansion.

The design contract for the expansion should be awarded in June.

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