For those near the Ochlockonee-St. Marks River Basin in Florida, water quality is about to get a lot better.


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is awarding the city of Tallahassee a $500,000 Total Maximum Daily Load grant to help fund construction of the $6 million Upper Lake Lafayette Nutrient Reduction Facility.

The new facility aims to improve water quality by significantly reducing the amount of nutrients reaching the Ochlockonee-St. Marks River Basin.

"We're pleased to award grants to Florida communities to help fund their area stormwater projects," says Trina Vielhauer, director of the Division of Water Restoration Assistance. "These nutrient-reduction projects are an important step in restoring and protecting our state's waterways, big and small."  

Related: Big Boost to Water Quality Expected in Kings Bay, Crystal River

Through this project, the Weems Road Stormwater Treatment Facility — an existing wet detention pond — is being enlarged and deepened to create a chemically enhanced stormwater treatment system known as the Upper Lake Lafayette Nutrient Reduction Facility.

The facility is now able to treat stormwater runoff from the more than 10,000-acre sub-watershed, significantly reducing nutrient loading to Upper Lake Lafayette, and ultimately, the Ochlockonee-St. Marks River Basin. 

"We're thankful DEP was able to assist with this innovative project," says Mark Heidecker, environmental specialist with the city of Tallahassee. "Preliminary monitoring of the Upper Lake Lafayette Nutrient Reduction Facility already shows reductions in pollutant loading, and we anticipate continued water-quality enhancement moving forward."

Related: Florida DEP Awards $4 Million for Clean Water Projects

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