Archives for Summer 2011


Water Quality Studies Proving that BMPs are Working

One way to protect the quality of our water is to study the methods used to reduce stormwater pollutants and establish if they are effective.  So we did…and so far it’s looking good.

Outlook Newsletter Summer 2011 IssueAs far back as the 1970s, studies in Florida have indicated that urban stormwater runoff was a major contributor to declining water quality in streams, water bodies, bays and close shore estuarine systems. Florida was the first state to require treatment of stormwater runoff, using grass swales, wet/dry detention lakes, pervious pavement, aeration, and other methods to filter contaminants from new developments. Water quality monitoring programs have shown that certain methods, or Best Management Practices (BMPs), are effective in removing pollutants and reducing the negative effects of stormwater runoff on our environment.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has been instrumental in funding efforts directed towards better understanding how the various BMPs actually perform in the diverse communities where they are used. The work is essential in progressing towards effective and proven water quality treatment methodologies.

For the last five years, Johnson Engineering has collaborated with FDEP, The Bonita Bay Group and, most recently, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Inland Ecology Research Group, conducting various research projects to evaluate how effective these BMPs are in treating water quality. To date, we have performed multiple studies throughout Southwest Florida, including:

– Green Roof Study – Shadow Wood Preserve, Fort Myers, FL

– Littoral Planting Study – Bonita Bay, Bonita Springs, FL

– Long Term Discharge Study – Lee & Collier Counties (ongoing)

– Pervious Pavement Study – Shadow Wood Preserve, Fort Myers, FL

– Aeration Studies – The Brooks, Bonita Springs, FL

The findings for the recently completed Aeration Study at The Brooks residential golf course community were recently presented at the CHNEP Charlotte Harbor Watershed Summit and at Florida Gulf Coast University’s 10th Annual Research Day.

Our team studied how aeration affects the water quality in four wet detention ponds of various depths. Wet detention ponds are the preferred method of stormwater treatment in South Florida and the need for fill materials has driven excavations deeper. The low oxygen conditions at these depths can release harmful phosphorus and metals from sediments. Local regulations will often require the use of aeration systems for ponds with depths greater than the standard twelve feet. Using submersible data sondes, portable multi-parameter meters and traditional grab samples, our team collected water quality data to be analyzed.

The results indicated the aeration had a positive effect on water quality through de-stratification and stabilization of the dissolved oxygen levels at greater depths. However, we found significant changes in the seasonal and annual patterns of the nutrient parameters, which were independent of aeration treatment. These nutrient concentration parameters appear to be driven partly by management activities both in the lakes and adjacent watersheds.

Scientists do not fully understand the complex physical, chemical, and biological systems of wet detention ponds and further study is warranted to better understand their behaviors. Our team has recently begun analysis on how groundwater interacts with surface water systems, which should get us one step closer to connecting the dots.

One of the most encouraging findings from the collaborative efforts has been that large state agencies can work effectively with private developers, consultants and the academic community for the long term benefit of Florida and its residents.

For more information on the above mentioned collaborative studies, please visit:

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Accurate Analysis Reduces Pump Size and Energy Needs

Outlook Newsletter Summer 2011 IssueMost of us don’t need to worry about calibrating our hydraulic models, nor do most of us even know what this means. As citizens, we just assume the maze of utilities beneath us is working properly and flowing as it should. However, that’s one of our jobs here at Johnson Engineering: to work closely with utility providers to analyze these systems and provide guidance for future upgrades. This is exactly how we are helping the City of Fort Myers.

In an effort to be proactive, the City of Fort Myers Public Works department hired Johnson Engineering’s utilities team to evaluate and provide recommendations for upgrades on one of its critical wastewater pumping stations servicing the City’s riverfront area. Instead of performing a typical single pump down test to establish flow and pressure at one moment in time, our utilities engineers recorded flow and pressure for a period of one week. To do this, pressure transducers were installed on the discharge piping to record pressure on the force main system, and low pressure recording transducers were installed in the wet well to monitor water levels. The data allowed the team to establish an accurate system curve and provide for a higher level of confidence with model results.

With the accurate data, our team provided recommendations for improvements that will ultimately make the station operate more efficiently. Taking the guessing game out of the equation and obtaining true readings enabled us to select pumps that reduced the station’s total horsepower from 140hp to 80hp. This will result in reduced energy and maintenance costs.

For more information on how we can help calibrate your hydraulic model, contact Michael Dickey, P.E. at [email protected].

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LeeSar Facility Boosts Job Market & Revolutionizes Healthcare Delivery Process

Thee new LeeSar, Inc. regional service center will bring more than 100 new positions to Fort Myers and will provide essential and efficient support to the major hospitals throughout Southwest Florida, and beyond.

Outlook Newsletter Summer 2011 IssueIn the healthcare industry delivering patient care is the utmost priority. Accomplishing this with a limited budget, time and staffing restraints can be difficult and stressful for healthcare leaders. The locally based Florida non-profit corporation, LeeSar, Inc. is delivering relief to the region’s medical facilities and changing the dynamic in the industry by moving non-patient care services out of the hospital.

LeeSar is a supply chain management service that provides purchasing, processing, assembling and distribution of critical supplies 24-hours a day, seven days a week to the major hospitals of Lee Memorial Health System, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Lee County EMS and other facilities. Moving these non-patient care services out of the hospital allows for additional space for patients, reduces inventory & operating costs, and most importantly, allows providers to focus on patient care, rather than preparing for their arrival.

A groundbreaking ceremony recently occurred in preparation for this new 23-acre, 205,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, at the former site of the Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center at the corner of Evans Avenue and Winkler Avenue in the City of Fort Myers. Johnson Engineering provided surveying, planning, landscape architecture and civil engineering services to construct the facility, which will include light industrial uses (distribution, sterile processing, cook/chill) and administrative offices. The combination of uses necessitated a rezoning from the CI Commercial Intensive designation to PUD, which was granted by City Council in November 2010.

Johnson Engineering performed the permitting associated with demolition of the hospital, which sat abandoned since 2009, and helped LeeSar minimize costs by securing an estimated $1.9 million in impact fee credits by redeveloping the site of the pre-1985 Medical Center within five years of demolition. Johnson Engineering further helped LeeSar efficiently utilize the site with deviations granted by the City of Fort Myers to retain and use existing parking areas, retain mature trees, and optimize the existing stormwater management, utility infrastructure and an existing electrical power building that remain on the site.

The facility is anticipated to provide a total of over 300 jobs, of which over 100 will be new positions. As the new center of operations, the company will continue to provide specialized surgical instrument repair, acquire and distribute medical supplies, package pharmaceuticals, supply custom surgical packs using a patented sterilization method, and manage food preparation services. The facility will also house centralized purchasing, contract management, and administration offices.

The new regional service center brings a boost to the area, not only by providing services more quickly and efficiently to the region’s major hospitals, but through its economic impact as well. The Winkler and Evans corridors suffered the loss of the activity and associated economic impact when Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center closed. LeeSar’s influx of employees will help local businesses like shops and restaurants, and will also spur additional business development for the facilities and enterprises that support LeeSar’s supply chain management functions.

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We’ve got an App for that – Get More Out of Your iPhone/iPad

Outlook Newsletter Summer 2011 IssueJohnson Engineering’s GIS team has developed Mobile Mapping applications for iPhone and iPad devices, as well as for Droid and Blackberry mobile devices.

These applications allow you to access and view your project specific data layers on your mobile device, and see your current position relative to those layers with an aerial background using your device’s GPS location information. Mobile maps are also viewable using standard desktop web browsers.

Data layers vary from point based features to linear or polygon features. Our team currently employs this technology to assist field operations for environmental/species mapping, well locations and stormwater facilities.

If you think the advanced Mobile Mapping technology would be helpful to your business, contact Mike Lohr, P.S.M. at [email protected].

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Recent Legislation Passed Allowing for Permit Extensions – House Bill 7207

Permit Extensions (Two Years)

All permits issued Outlook Newsletter Summer 2011 Issueby DEP and WMD with expiration dates of 1/1/12 to 1/1/14 may be extended and renewed for two years after the previous date of expiration. This includes any local government issued development order or building permit, including certificates of level of service (COA).

  • This extension is ADDITIONAL to any existing permit extension.
  • Statutory extensions may not exceed four years total.
  • Commencement and completion dates for corresponding mitigation are extended.
  • Applicants/Permittees must notify the agency in writing by December 31, 2011.
  • Permits extended continue to be governed by the rules in effect at time of permit issuance.

DRI Extensions (Four Years)

  • All co
  • mmencement, phase, buildout, and expiration dates for projects that are currently valid DRIs are extended for four years regardless of any previous extension.
  • The four-year extension is not a substantial deviation, is not subject to further DRI review, and may not be considered when determining whether a subsequent extension is a substantial deviation.
  • The developer must notify the local government in writing by December 31, 2011 to receive the extension.

For more information on how we can help process your extensions, contact Laura DeJohn at [email protected].


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