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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


~Collaboration enables more comprehensive and efficient approach to restoration~

Tallahassee, Fla. – Secretary Jon Steverson announces that under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection 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. DEP and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) have approved seven springs restoration projects in Citrus and Hernando counties. These projects will receive more than $12 million in state funding from Legacy Florida through the department's Division of Water Restoration Assistance program. This funding is expected to leverage nearly $3 million in matching funds for a total of $15 million.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida’s beautiful springs are one of our state’s greatest natural treasures and help attract families, visitors and job creators. 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.”

DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their ongoing support of springs restoration. The springs projects that will be implemented because of this funding will make a difference in improving environmental conditions and enhancing local communities.”

Southwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director Brian Armstrong said, “We appreciate the support from both Governor Scott and the Legislature. The funds will allow the District to continue the important work of revitalizing and restoring the waters along our Springs Coast, an area which continues to be a unique destination for both our citizens and visitors.”

The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars. These seven selected projects will benefit the Crystal River/Kings Bay springs, Homosassa Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs and the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

A few of the Southwest Florida Water Management District springs projects include:

Crystal River/Kings Bay Springs Group Reclaimed Water Interconnection:
Awarded $4.2 million from DEP and a $2.2 million local match to design, permit and connect the Meadowcrest wastewater treatment facility's reclaimed water to the city of Crystal River's reclaimed water line that delivers water to the Duke Energy Complex. The project will provide 440,000 gallons per day of reclaimed water. In addition, the project will provide approximately 13,000 pounds per year in nutrient reduction within the Crystal River/Kings Bay springshed.

Crystal River/Kings Bay Springs Group Septic-to-Sewer: Awarded $900,000 from DEP and a $100,000 local match to design, permit and construct the municipal sanitary sewer system for the Indian Waters area of Crystal River. The project will include sewer pipe and components necessary to connect septic system users to the city of Crystal River's central sewer system. The project will also provide approximately 1,870 pounds per year in nutrient reduction within the Crystal River/Kings Bay springshed.

Weeki Wachee Spring Group Advanced Wastewater Treatment: Awarded $3.4 million from DEP and a $256,300 local match to connect several private wastewater package plants within the Weeki Wachee, Homosassa and Aripeka springsheds to Hernando County's central wastewater collection system, reducing nutrients by approximately 1,369 pounds per year. The project will increase the availability of reclaimed water for beneficial reuse or recharge.

The 35 projects statewide that have been selected to receive more than $56.6 million in state funding are expected to leverage another $33.1 million in matching funds. This brings the total state and local investment in springs projects to more than $275 million during the past four years.