Board approves 27 water resource protection projects to share $16 million

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VIERA, Fla., April 10, 2018 ― Twenty-seven projects in nine counties will share in nearly $16 million for construction of water supply and water conservation, water quality improvement, flood protection and natural systems restoration projects. The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board on Tuesday approved the project ranking for the fiscal year 2018–2019 Annual Districtwide Cost-share Program.

“District cost-share funding for water resource protection and restoration projects is helping local governments make progress in preserving, restoring and enhancing our drinking water source, our waterways and our Outstanding Florida Springs,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Cost-share programs are a great way to ensure taxpayers are getting the best return on their tax dollars. These cost-share funds will help develop more than 4 million gallons of alternative water supplies, provide recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer, reduce nutrient loading to our waterways and springs, protect against flooding and conserve water.”

“This level of support and collaboration between the St. Johns River Water Management District and our local governments throughout the region is tremendous,” said Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange. “The almost $6 million in project assistance for Volusia and Brevard County communities is a wonderful example of state and local leaders working together in significant ways to support water quality projects and water resource protection for our region.”

“I am excited to see the continued support from the St. Johns River Water Management District and their collaborative partnerships with local and county governments to protect Silver Springs,” said Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Lady Lake. “From eliminating septic tanks and connecting homeowners to sewer lines, to efforts that improve the flow to Silver Springs, this funding will help remove over 1,000 pounds of nutrients a year and increase the flow to the springs by almost 9 million gallons a day. Our tax dollars, combined with hard work and scientific expertise, are truly helping us safeguard this national treasure for years to come.”

Highlights of the approved project list include:

  • Ten water supply projects are estimated to provide 4.1 million gallons per day (mgd) of alternative water supply and to conserve 0.6 mgd.
    • Water conservation projects include Orange County Utilities’ Waterwise Neighbor Program and, programs in Seminole and Volusia counties.
    • Reclaimed water retrofits and other reuse projects were approved for funding in Deltona, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Ocoee and Ormond Beach.
  • Twelve water quality protection projects are estimated to reduce nutrient loads by 27,690 pounds of total nitrogen per year and 58,050 pounds of total phosphorus per year. These include:
    • Septic to sewer conversion projects in Atlantic Beach, Indian River County, Longwood, Ocala, Putnam County and South Daytona Beach.
    • Wastewater treatment improvements and/or expansion in Altamonte Springs, Cocoa Beach, Edgewater, Ocala, and Ormond Beach.
  • Two flood projection projects in St. Augustine and Jacksonville are estimated to protect 56 acres.
  • Three natural systems restoration projects are estimated to provide an aquifer recharge benefit of 9.2 mgd to Silver Springs and Volusia Blue Spring.
  • The approved list includes 11 springs restoration projects benefitting Outstanding Florida Springs, including five projects benefitting Silver Springs.
  • Projects are located in Brevard, Duval, Indian River, Marion, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Fifty-four applications totaling $33.4 million in requested district funding were ranked and scored based on core mission benefits, cost effectiveness, likelihood of successful and timely completion, and application quality and completeness.

Projects must begin during fiscal year 2019 and be completed within two years.

The board also approved a list of 17 projects that provide water quantity and/or water quality improvements to Outstanding Florida Springs within the district. The project list will be sent to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Florida Legislature for approval.

Between 2014 and 2018, nearly 100 district cost-share projects have reduced total nitrogen entering Florida’s springs by 1 million pounds per year and have conserved approximately 13 million gallons of water per day. During this same time period, cost-share programs have provided approximately $45 million in funding for springs restoration projects and FDEP has provided nearly $25 million toward these projects.