November 28, 2022 Update.
As a result of Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole, water levels in Big Sand Lake rose more than 30 inches. On November 16, 2022, the Big Sand Lake Advisory Board (BSLAB) unanimously passed a resolution to expend MSTU funds for 8 weeks of pumping prior to the start of the FDOT outfall lowering project in February 2023.
Following passage of this resolution, the Orange County Environmental Protection Division submitted an internal emergency requisition package based on a quote presented by Superior Construction. The total project cost of $729,663 includes design, engineering, permitting, surveys, right of way entry and construction fees. The Advisory Board had previously approved $500,000 for the project. Superior Construction is the same contractor hired by FDOT to lower Big Sand Lake's outfall from 95.34' to 92.83'.
Project timeline and stipulations
The contract was awarded to Superior Construction on November 17, 2022. The contractor will prepare the project site prior to commencing pumping. Authorization is also required from the South Florida Water Management District and Florida Department of Environmental Protection before pumping can begin.
The Advisory Board resolution stipulates that no activity shall take place until the lake level reaches 96.3' NAVD88, and pumping should begin when the lake reaches 96.0' NAVD88. When the lake elevation is higher than 96.0' NAVD88, the lake is draining via gravity through the outfall at a rate equivalent to or greater than pumping. If pumping does not begin by December 15, 2022, no work shall be performed on the contract.
The 2021 plans for the pumping project included up to 26 weeks of pumping. The project was placed on long-term hold in January 2022 due to timeline conflicts with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) project to lower Big Sand Lake's outfall. The two projects cannot operate simultaneously. Based on the Right of Entry Agreement with the owner of the property where the pumps will be staged, FDOT's project date is fixed.