C.W. Young Regional Reservoir, Tampa, FL, USA

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GHD was engaged to assess the risk of sinkhole development at the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir. Making the region’s water supply more drought resistant, reliable, and flexible, the 15.5 billion gallon reservoir stores and collects surface water from the Tampa Bypass Canal and Hillsborough and Alafia rivers during wet times. During dry times, water stored in the reservoir is withdrawn, treated, and blended with other supplies to serve the region.

As a result of groundwater pumpage from the Floridan aquifer for crop freeze protection, sinkhole formations were evident in Hillsborough County in 2010. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) was concerned that karst conditions under the Reservoir may have been altered by these rapid drawdown events. Furthermore, the 2014 berm expansion and increase in the reservoir pool may exacerbate the risk of sinkhole development and pose a threat to the safety of the reservoir and its neighbors.

To assess the sinkhole risk at the reservoir, GHD employed aquifer performance, well performance, and dye tracer testing. The company also developed groundwater flow models to evaluate drawdown impacts from the neighboring agricultural properties. As a result of our modeling and data review from the collected surface, subsurface, geophysical, hydrogeologic, and geotechnical testing, Tampa Bay Water has a much better understanding of the regional nature of water level fluctuations and their association with agricultural pumpage.

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