Baffle boxes help clean up the Indian River Lagoon


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Cleaning up the Indian River Lagoon is an important project for Brevard County residents.

Klinton Landress

Baffled by baffle boxes? 

There have been a number of articles recently about the biggest baffle box east of the Mississippi being installed in Melbourne.

That’s great, but what is a baffle box and what does it do?

Rain washes trash, grass clippings, road dust, fertilizer and other waste into the stormwater system. It then empties into the Indian River Lagoon. Baffle boxes help clean up this stormwater by capturing much of this contamination. They are underground structures with multiple chambers and screens that skim off floating debris, allow heavier material to settle and reduce the nitrogen and phosphorous loading in the water. 

The recent news has been about the Cliff Creek baffle box being installed on the riverside of U.S. 1, just south of Lake Washington Road. It is made of concrete measuring 25 feet wide, 20 feet long and 15 feet deep.

 It will serve a 515-acre drainage basin bounded roughly by Stewart Road to the west, Sweetwood Drive to the north and downtown Eau Gallie to the south. The processed water will flow beneath Pineapple Boulevard and into the river.

Construction should be completed by late May.

In addition to eliminating most debris, it is expected to extract 3,400 pounds of nitrogen and 830 pounds of phosphorous from the water entering the lagoon annually. The City of Melbourne will service the unit on a schedule that varies according to rain.

The Cliff Creek unit will be jointly funded by the City of Melbourne and the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Trust Fund. It will cost more than  $715,000. 

During the past five years, Melbourne has installed seven smaller baffle boxes and has recently opened bids for construction of the Otter Creek unit. It will serve a roughly 300-acre area encompassing Sherwood Park and surrounding neighborhoods.

Other Brevard communities also are installing baffle boxes to help clean up their stormwaters that flow into the lagoon. The Lagoon Plan currently calls for the installation of a dozen more along the lagoon.

For some tips on what you can do to help the Lagoon, go to tinyurl.com/HowToHelpLagoon.