The Florida DEP and the Florida Water Management Districts have identified 35 springs projects to receive more than $56.6 million included in the 2016-17 “Florida First” budget, the highest amount ever provided for Florida’s springs. Along with $33.1 million in matching funds at the state and local levels, the total investment in springs projects will be $89.7 million for this new fiscal year. Gov. Rick Scott has provided historic funding during the past four years, which when leveraged with local funding, totals more than $275 million that directly benefits springs water quality and quantity.
“Florida’s beautiful springs are one of our state’s greatest natural treasures and help attract families, visitors and job creators," says Gov. Scott. "Since 2013, the state has provided more than $135 million for springs restoration, the highest amount of funding in Florida’s history. The funding for these potential projects shows our continued commitment to protecting our springs, and I look forward to seeing them implemented so Florida’s natural treasures can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
“I would like to thank Gov. Scott and the Florida Legislature for their ongoing support of springs restoration," says Secretary Jon Steverson, FEDP. "The springs projects that will be implemented because of this funding will make a difference in improving environmental conditions and enhancing local communities.”
The 35 statewide projects include:
- Volusia Blue Advance Wastewater Treatment (Volusia Blue): The project will upgrade and expand the advanced wastewater treatment system from the existing 1.7 mgd to 2.7 mgd, increasing capacity to allow for future septic removal and further reducing nutrient loading into Volusia Blue Spring by about 41,000 pounds per year. In addition, the project will reduce groundwater withdrawals, helping to preserve the ecosystem and protect the spring.
- Hernando County's Package Plant Connection Project (Weeki Wachee Spring Group): The project will connect several private wastewater package plants within the Weeki Wachee, Homosassa and Aripeka springsheds to Hernando County's central wastewater collections system, reducing nutrients by about 1,369 pounds per year. The project will also result in additional reclaimed water for beneficial reuse.
- Septic Connection (Wakulla Springs): The project will connect up to 130 homes currently on septic tanks to the existing central sewer system within the city of Tallahassee and the priority area for Wakulla Springs. The anticipated nutrient load reduction is 2,526 pounds per year.
- Fanning Springs Wastewater Collection System Extension Phase IV (Fanning Springs): The project will expand the city of Fanning Springs' sewer system, eliminating and preventing 198 septic tanks, reducing nutrient loading to Fanning Springs. This is Phase Three of the Fanning Springs Sewer Expansion Project, which is anticipated to reduce about 4,554 pounds per year of nutrients from Fanning Springs.
- Click here to see a complete list of projects. The projects are part of the upcoming budget public hearings to be held by each of the respective water management districts.
About Florida DEP
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. Visit the department’s website at www.dep.state.fl.us.