Wastewater & Stormwater Mosquitoes

Florida's extensive drainage and flood control systems have eliminated many wetland areas that provided suitable aquatic habitats for a variety of mosquito species. However, the diversion of stormwater to coastal marine systems via canals has dumped pollutants into estuarine systems, and it has also greatly diminished the amount of stormwater that enters recharge areas for replenishing the aquifer. To alleviate these water quality and supply problems, various types of stormwater detention/retention areas are being incorporated into all new commercial and residential developments. Some established developments have also been retrofitted with stormwater retention or detention systems.

The widespread use of these stormwater management systems may lead to increased mosquito production, unless adequate precautions are taken. The overall goal of our studies is the development of guidelines for enhancing mosquito abatement in stormwater management systems. Specifically, we are trying to find ways in which mosquito control considerations can be incorporated into the design, construction and operation of these systems.

Mosquitoes associated with wastewater

In many parts of Florida, clean, fresh water for domestic, agricultural or industrial uses is becoming a critical resource. Wastewater recycling and reuse help to conserve and to replenish freshwater supplies. Floridians daily produce approximately 100 gallons of wastewater per capita from domestic sources alone.

Concern for water quality conditions in lakes, rivers, and marine areas has resulted in the enactment of new state laws that will greatly limit future disposal of wastewater into these aquatic systems. To adjust to these changing conditions, many communities have implemented wastewater reuse and recycling programs.

diagram of a retention pond to catch runoff water from urban areas

stormwater detention pond

Mosquito problems are frequently associated with some of the conventional wastewater treatment operations. The expanded use of wastewater recycling and reuse may create even more man-made mosquito habitats. Our studies are examining how the density of various aquatic plants and water quality conditions affect mosquito production in wastewater disposal areas.

Contact: G. O'Meara