Water-Related News

Polk County approves funds to acquire land adjacent to water treatment plant

Polk County Commissioners last week okayed spending $2.1 million to buy a 10-acre plot of land to upgrade and expand services to its northeast water treatment plant and also approved a suggested plan to alleviate flooding in the Crooked Lake area. The board also signed off on the appointment of two senior executives to oversee the county’s Fire and Emergency Services department and County Parole and Probation units.

Commissioners unanimously okayed spending the cash to buy 10 acres of land, owned by Barnum City Grove LLC, to expand the Northeast Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which presently provides some 6 million gallons of fresh potable water.

Wade Allen, the manager of Polk County’s Real Estate department, told the board the land wasn’t coming cheap — but the purchase price was still below the present market value.

“The land is actually valued at about $2.5 million,” Allen explained.

He said the county’s staff had negotiated a slightly lower price, the $2.1 million okayed unanimously on August 20.

The land, officials earlier explained, sits adjacent to the plant and is presently a productive grove.

Board addresses flooding concerns in southeast Polk

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners has approved a plan outlined by Roads and Drainage engineer Jay Jarvis that will help alleviate troublesome flooding around Crooked Lake near Babson Park.

Jarvis told commissioners last week there were citizen and Southwest Florida Water Management District reports that the flooding was becoming an issue, in light of the heavy rains that have inundated Polk this summer.

The solution, according to Jarvis, is to clear existing canals and weirs of overgrowth and debris so water can resume flow — but the county doesn’t own the land or have easements to allow maintenance crews access to the areas.

Jarvis said the county had surveyed the property from the air and could see that the canals and weirs were contributing to the water accumulation restricting drainage. He added that the last time the interconnecting canals and weirs had been cleaned was more than a decade ago following a series of hurricanes that criss-crossed the county.