Title: Well Field Regulation - What Have We Done So Far? by J. D. Hardin
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00051886/00001
 Material Information
Title: Well Field Regulation - What Have We Done So Far? by J. D. Hardin
Alternate Title: Well Field Regulation - What Have We Done So Far? by J. D. Hardin; The Text of a Talk Given at the Bi-Monthly Meeting of The Florida Section of the American Water Resources Association,
Physical Description: 5p.
Language: English
Publication Date: September 28, 1979
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
General Note: Box 3, Folder 8 ( WELL FIELDS - PUBLIC - ORDERS ), Item 5
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00051886
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text




The subject of well field regulation has been a highly emotional issue for
some years in the Tampa Bay Area. I didn't realize just how concerned some
people can get until Frank Crum asked if I was speaking for or against the
methods the District uses for well field regulation. He pointed out to me
that the title of my talk can be interpreted in several different ways
depending upon one's particular viewpoint. Well, I am not going to discuss
the pros and cons of the methods of well field regulation used by the District
today. What I am going to discuss is the history of well field development
in the Tampa Bay Area as it relates to the foundation of the Southwest Florida
Water Management District and the development and evolution of the regulatory
concept. I will begin with a brief history of well field development and the
water management process, through the time that the District became a regulatory
agency in January of 1970, to the present. In the late 1920's both Tampa and
St. Petersburg lost their existing well fields to saltwater encroachment. The
city of St. Petersburg constructed its first inland well field in Hillsborough
County. This was the Cosme-Odessa Well Field (Point Out). Later, in 1956,
Pinellas County constructed the Eldridge-Wilde Well Field on an 1800 acre tract
along the Pinellas Hillsborough County line (Point Out) in Hillsborough County.

The citizens neighboring this well field became aware of a lowering of lake
levels and a drying up of shallow wells that they attributed to well field
pumpage. Their civil action filed against the municipality in 1958 was lost
because of a lack of definitive data. It was in 1961, that the Southwest
Florida Water Management District was formed as a result of severe flooding
in 1959 and 1960 and became the local sponsor for the Four River Basins project.
Later, in 1963, the City of St. Petersburg constructed a second well field in
Hillsborough County, the Section 21 well field (Point Out). Late in 1964,
members of the Hillsborough County Commission appeared before the District
Governing Board to request the establishment of a regulatory district to
regulate well field development in Hillsborough County. During the next 5
years, the residents continued to press their case for regulatory controls
and continued to obtain more adequate documentation of the effects of
overpumpage. As a result of their efforts, in 1968, a regulatory district was
formed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District called SWFWMD (R)
under the provisions of old Chapter 373, Florida Statutes. One of the first
regulatory actions of the new Regulatory District was to promulgate well
construction regulations. Then in February, 1972, the District issued an
order, (Order No. 72-L) pursuant to stipulation, which established regulatory
levels for St. Petersburg's Cosme-Odessa and Section 21 Well Fields, and
provided for the construction of a deep observation well, a 30 day pumping
test and pumpage reports on the proposed new South Pasco Well Field (Point Out).

This was an important first step in the regulation of well fields. For the
first time, withdrawals from a well field were to be regulated in such a way
as to minimize the impacts on the water resources of adjacent properties.
To do this, the District regulated the minimum level of the potentiometric
surface at each well field boundary. These minimum levels are commonly
referred to as regulatory levels. It is important to note at this time that
the District had not yet adopted its Rules and Regulations, but was operating
solely under the authority of Chapter 373, as amended, known now as the
Water Resources Act of 1972. The concept of regulatory levels was developed
by Mr, R. N. Cherry, then Chief of the Hydrologic Division. He is now
Sub-District Chief of the Charlotte Sub-District of the U. S. Geological
survey in North Carolina. As envisioned by Mr. Cherry, the regulatory level
was to be set as a result of determining the discharge rate needed to cause
the leakage of the district-wide average water crop (which is precipitation-
evapotranspiration) within a circular area equivalent to the well field acreage
(650,000 GPD/MI was the amount used). By distance drawdown calculations, the
regulatory levels were determined at specific observation well locations. The
regulatory level so established would allow control of the downward movement
of water from the water table at the well field boundary. By December, 1972,
the Eldridge-Wilde Well Field had approached a state of over-development with
pumpages of about 62 MGD. The Governing Board required Pinellas County to
begin monitoring and evaluating the effects of the well field.

In April 1973, the South Pasco Well Field was brought into operation. Later,
in July of that year, a water shortage was declared to exist in the area
surrounding these existing well fields. The District then, in Novenber, by
order, (Order Mo. 73-6R) placed the South Pasco Well Field under regulatory
level control and imposed a combined pumping cap upon the Cosme-Odessa and
Section 21 Well Fields of 168 million gallons per week, non-cumulative, or
24 MGD, and required that production be balanced between the two well fields.
After much furor, the District entered into a "Five Party Agreement" with
Pasco County, Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and the City of St. Petersburg.
This agreement provided specific conditions and limitations for operations of the
well fields. It also provided that the parties would establish a regional water
supply system and begin planning for the first regional well field to be
established at the Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area in Pasco County.

In September, 1973, the District ordered (Order No. 73-3R) the regulation of
withdrawals from Eldridge-Wilde Well Field at 36 MGD average and 44MBODmnmx.
In November, 1973, a second order (Order No. 73-5R) reduced the average daily
withdrawal by stages to 28 MGD until regulatory levels could be set. In
October, 1974, regulatory levels were established for the Eldridge-Wilde Well

Let me remind you that up until this time, the District had not adopted
its Rules and Regulations and was operating under the general powers of Chapter
373 which allowed the District to regulate through the orders I have described.

On January 1, 1975, Chapter 163-2, Florida Administrative Code was implemented.
Chapter 163-2 contained permitting rules governing the consumptive use of water.
The adoption of 16J-2, meant that all existing well fields were required to
submit applications for consumptive use permits. As Cosme-Odessa, Section 21,
Eldridge Wilde/East Lake Road, and the South Pasco Well Fields were in existence
prior to January 1, 1975, the average quantity of water withdrawn in the prior
years was considered to be an existing use under the provision of Chapter
16J-2.04' and was not subject to the conditions for a consumptive use permit

for new uses. The only criteria that was applicable to the existing use was
the criteria of reasonable, beneficial use and use in the public interest. The
new-use portion of each application for a consumptive use permit, however, was
subject to new use requirements and was evaluated accordingly.

The dust did not settle from this first effort in permitting until mid 1978.
As a result, St. Petersburg, which applied for a permit in September, 1975, for
the Cosme-Odessa and Section 21 Well Fields, received a permit in February 1976,
for 19 MGD average and 22 MGD maximum from Cosie-Odessa and 19 MGD average and
22 MGD minimum from Section 21. The existing use was determined to be 9 MGD
for each well field. The permit required that pumpage from both well fields
be reasonably balanced at an amount not to exceed 168 million gallons per week
for each well field. The existing regulatory levels remained intact and became
a part of the permit.

Later, Pinellas County applied for a permit for the Eldridge-Wilde Well Field
in December, 1976, and received a permit in April, 1978 for 35 fMGD average and
55 MGD maximum. The existing use was determined to be 35 MGD. The existing
regulatory levels at 4 wells established by previous order were not changed.

Concurrent with its other well field permit applications, the City of St.
Petersburg applied for a permit in February 1975, for the South Pasco Well Field.
The existing use was determined to be 16.9 MGD, In May, 1978, St. Petersburg
received a permit for 16.9 MGD average and 24 MGD maximum subject to significant

While these existing well fields were being permitted, the West Coast Regional
Water Supply Authority had obtained a permit for 30 MGD from their new Cypress
Creek Well Field and had a take or pay contract with the City of St, Petersburg
for 10 MGD, Because of this the City of St. Petersburg was required to obtain
the first 10 MGD of water from Cypress Creek and the remaining needs from
Cosie-Odessa, Section 21 and South Pasco through a reasonable balance of
pumpage until the maximum combined permitted amounts of about 24 MGD was
reached from Cosme-Odessa and Seciton 21. At that time additional amounts of
pumpage could be obtained from South Pasco. This permit was significant in
that it linked together all of St. Petersburg's water supply sources. Now that
I have covered the existing-use well fields, I will move on to the new-use well
fields --- Cypress Creek, Morris Bridge and Cross Bar Ranch.

The West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority which was founded in 1974 applied
for a consumptive use permit in June, 1977, to withdraw water from the Cypress
Creek Well Field. The Cypress Creek Well Field Project was a major part of
the "Five Party Agreement." The property was to be developed for flood detention
water supply, recreational, and wildlife refuge purpose. These plans have been
set back by the actions of the Corps of Engineers in shelving their plans for
the flood detention area. The District is presently evaluating the options now
available to manage the well field in keeping with the "Five Party Agreement."

While these District studies were underway, the Authority was granted a permit
in March, 1978, to withdraw 30 MGD from the Cypress Creek Well Field in order
to supply 10 MGD to St. Petersburg and 20 MGD to Pinellas County. Cypress
Creek is presently operating under regulatory levels established at 5 deep
regulatory wells and under management levels in 7 water-table wells.
At the same time West Coast was evaluating the potential for Cypress Creek,
the Tampa Water Department was doing the same for their proposed new Morris
Bridge Well Field (Point Out). You will have an opportunity to see that well
field tomorrow. An application was made in November, 1977 for a consumptive
use permit for 20.4 MGD average and 40 MGD maximum. The City has completed
several investigations and stress tests required by the District and is awaiting
the scheduling of a public hearing on the application. Likewise, the West
Coast Regional Water Supply Authority is completing evaluation and testing
on its proposed new Cross Bar Ranch Well Field. West Coast submitted an
application of 30 MGD average and 45 MGD maximum and was granted a permit
for 15 MGD average and 20 MGD maximum in October, 1978. It was determined by
the Board that the effects of withdrawals at the requested rate could not be
determined using the available data. This was very important given the very
vocal objections of the local residents and Pasco County concerning the
possibility of off-site impacts. The Authority has since filed an amended
application for 30 MGD average and 45 MGD maximum based upon the results of
additional investigations on the property. That application is pending at
this time.

Each of these new-use well fields has been evaluated with respect to all
provisions of Chapter 163-2.11, conditions for a consumptive use permit. In
each case the Governing Board has, for good cause, granted exceptions to
various rule criteria such as the water crop provision and the water level
drawdown provision. Of all the provisions, the District has been critized
most for its use of the water crop concept; by the utilities for the District's
restrictive use and by others for the District's lenient use with respect
to public water supplies. I think that it is most important to point out
to you that the rule criteria of 16J-2.11. provide a threshold to be utilized
in the evaluation of consumptive use permit applications and are not absolute
limitations. To my knowledge, the Governing Board has never denied a permit
application solely because it did not meet the water crop provision. When
these criteria are exceeded, the Governing Board, for good cause can grant an
exception. A demonstration that the use is reasonable, beneficialaTnd the
public interest constitutes part of the showing of good cause. If, upon close
examination of any well field application or any other application, it
appeared that there is a high potential for adversely affecting lake stages,
and vegetation on the adjacent properties, the issuance of a permit was
made dependent upon limiting the effects of withdrawals on lake stages or
vegetation on those adjacent properties so as to make the anticipated with-
drawal effects acceptable. To accomplish this, the District has relied on the
establishment of regulatory levels within existing-use well fields and in
new-use well fields where such levels are appropriate. The setting of
regulatory levels was not intended as a means of showing good cause for an
exception to the water crop provision, but rather as a means of limiting
withdrawal effects on lake stages and vegetation. Exceptions to the
provisions providingfor limiting withdrawal effects on lake stages and
vegetation probably will not be granted unless the permitted can give
irrefutable evidence that the granting of an exception is in the public

As you can see, the regulation of public well fields has been an evolutionary
process for both the large public supply utilities and the District. Although
at times the frustrations have shown on both sides, there are still those
many times when the spirit of cooperation won out. But, there are still many
tender issues to be resolved.

As some of you may know, all permits granted for the public supply well fields
I have discussed are scheduled to expire on December 31, 1980. At the time of
renewal, the needs and resources of each applicant will be considered with
respect to compliance with the provisions of Chapter 16J-2.11, conditions for
a consumptive use permit. It is in this manner that the District hopes to
obtain the most reasonable, beneficial use of the resource while minimizing
the impacts of well field development.

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