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~Grants assist Florida communities with water-quality improvements~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded more than $1.8 million for stormwater projects in seven communities. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water-quality restoration grants are awarded to local communities and water management districts to implement and construct projects designed to reduce pollutant loads to impaired waters from stormwater discharges.

"The department is proud to partner with local communities to make vital investments in stormwater projects that improve water quality and protect the state’s important natural resources," said DEP Interim Secretary Ryan Matthews.

Funded through annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature, TMDL grants focus on projects designed to restore impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida's stringent water-quality standards. 

Specifically, the TMDL grant program provides funding assistance for communities to implement projects to better manage or treat stormwater. Stormwater runoff is generated when rain flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not seep into the ground. As the runoff flows over paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, nutrients, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is left untreated and runs into nearby surface waters.

Projects recently awarded TMDL grants from the November 2016 cycle include:

Cape Coral: Awarded $600,000 to upgrade approximately 300 stormwater catch basins and install enhanced swales in a 725-acre area west of Store Road. The new catch basins will enable more stormwater runoff to filter into the ground instead of freely flowing through storm drains into the canal system, and ultimately into Charlotte Harbor, a natural estuary and the state’s second largest bay. This project provides significant nutrient reduction to the estuary and harbor.

Cutler Bay: Awarded $274,000 to reduce nutrients by increasing settling time prior to discharge into Biscayne Bay. The project involves modifications of catch basins and other control structures and adds additional catch basins and drains.

Haines City: Awarded $197,000 to remove excess phosphorus accumulating in Lake Eva by constructing a chemical treatment system. This system is anticipated to remove approximately 108 pounds of phosphorus per year. This would result in an approximately 64-percent reduction of phosphorus in the lake, helping to resolve the lake’s current impairment status.

Jacksonville: Awarded $225,000 for part of the city's Drainage System Rehabilitation program. As part of this project, nutrients will be reduced in the St. Johns River by rehabilitating existing storm sewers, constructing new drainage infrastructure and upgrading baffle boxes.

North Bay Village: Awarded $150,000 to improve the stormwater system and reduce pollutant load to Biscayne Bay by repairing, refurbishing, replacing and/or reconnecting Village catch basins. In addition, the project will help reduce localized flooding issues.

Oakland: Awarded $301,222 to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen being discharged to Lake Apopka by constructing dry stormwater ponds and pollutant removal systems, as well as a stormwater collection system including storm inlets, pipes, swales and control structures to detain runoff for treatment.

Tavares: Awarded $115,000 to add a pervious parking area within 300 feet of the shoreline of Lake Dora, helping to eliminate approximately 1 acre of surface runoff from entering the lake. This parking area will serve a larger stormwater treatment project already being funded in part by previous TMDL and Section 319 grants.

Since 2002, the department has awarded more than $117 million in TMDL grants, including $3.2 million to date in fiscal year 2016-17.

Visit the TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant Program webpage for more information on the application process and qualification requirements.