Gulf Power donates nearly 300 tons of concrete and aluminum to create artificial reef
Almost 300 tons of concrete and aluminum donated by Gulf Power could soon be teeming with sea life.
The electric utility is providing the retired materials to help make an artificial reef about 2 miles south of Pensacola Beach in 60 feet of water near the Three Barges site. The Escambia County Marine Recreational Committee will sink the materials sometime next year.
The concrete sections – which use to serve as 66 covers for underground electrical equipment -- weigh about 9,000 pounds each and will serve as a foundation for the public reef, which will include concrete culverts from the county.
“Concrete, steel and aluminum are great for reef-building — and this material would have otherwise been discarded,” said Jeff Rogers, Gulf Power spokesperson. “The fish and sea life love this stuff — it will be a boon to fishing and diving.”
The covers, made of 13-inch thick concrete with aluminum hatches, are being replaced with newer lids that will provide better access for Gulf Power technicians working on the underground electric equipment.
Artificial reefs provide crucial habitat for fish and create fishing and diving sites. The goals of the Artificial Reef program include enhancing the sandy seafloor to create habitat and increase marine life.
Gulf Power helped create another artificial reef in 1992 when it donated 35 tons of metal discarded from substations. The “Gulf Power Towers” are still a popular dive and fishing location today.
Gulf Power Company is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 430,000 customers in 10 counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely deliver affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy to very satisfied customers in strong communities. Visit our website at www.gulfpower.com.
Photo: Alan Steele, Special Projects supervisor with Gulf Power, stands with a portion of the concrete and aluminum lids the company is donating to Escambia County Marine Recreational Committee to be used as foundation for an artificial reef. Concrete culverts will cover the lids once deployed on the sea floor.
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