Top: The irrigation system at St. Petersburg, Fla.'s, Mangrove Bay Golf Course features a reclaimed-water storage pond, with a high-density polyethylene liner. Bottom: The Mangrove Bay Golf Course serves more than 75,000 rounds of golf annually. Photos: Wade-Trim and Aerial Innovations

Despite the fact that Florida is surrounded by water, an increasing demand for a fresh water supply—especially for irrigation purposes—is a challenge many municipal officials in the state continually face.

The Mangrove Bay Golf Course in St. Petersburg, owned and operated by the city since 1976, accommodates more than 75,000 rounds of golf per year. The course plays an important part in the city's economy, delivering funds in the form of taxes, general administrative charges, and in many years, a return on investment.

The city contracted the Tampa office of Wade-Trim Inc., a Taylor, Mich.-based engineering design firm, to create a solution that would eliminate water pressure problems while maintaining the plush tee boxes, fairways, and greens. The firm created a detailed, innovative design that entwined the need to reduce the demands on the city's reclaimed water, improve irrigation, and enhance the course. Design efforts began in February 2001.

A 2.2-million-gallon reclaimed water storage pond and irrigation pump station was designed to be compatible with the course's existing computer software. As a result, the demand on the city's reclaimed water supply was reduced and the course was irrigated efficiently.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Jeff Hollis, course manager. “It's a good use for reclaimed water, a storage pond is replenished at off-peak times for additional storage of reclaimed water, and the system does not compete for the reclaimed water supply during peak times with all of the other users throughout the city.”

The pond and pump station are in an area previously used as a landfill. Excavated material from the pond was relocated onsite, covered with clean material, and used for new mounds throughout the course. The storage pond—positioned between the clubhouse entrance road and the fairway—adds a new water feature on the first hole. The floating, three-tiered, lighted fountain in the pond serves as an aerator and as a focal point for golfers entering the course.

The storage pond has a surface area of 1 ¼ acres and is 11 feet deep—designed to hold a minimum of three days' storage for the irrigation system, plus 2 ½ feet of permanent water storage for aesthetic reasons. The pond's design includes a textured high-density polyethylene liner that was specified to allow a 4 ½-foot thick sand cover to be placed at a 3:1 slope, minimizing the pond's footprint to comply with the volume requirements and the physical area available. The design also allows for a future increase in storage size with a second pond across the roadway that can connect to the existing pond.

The pump station is designed with two pumps: a 25-hp jockey pump, and a 100-hp variable speed irrigation pump. The jockey pump maintains the pressure in the irrigation system until the irrigation pump comes on at a predetermined date and run time selected by the maintenance personnel and programmed into the irrigation system's computer. Maintenance personnel can enter varying dates, pump run times, and zones of irrigation, depending on differing amounts of precipitation. This system is typically run for an eight-hour period at night.

The project was completed in September 2004 at a cost of $1 million. All operational and capital costs were covered by user fees; tax dollars were not used to fund the improvements. Throughout construction, the course remained open to golfers. PW

Rice is senior project manager with Wade-Trim Inc.