To celebrate Springs Protection Awareness Month, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is launching a new Septic to Sewer initiative by providing more than $7 million in matching funds for five projects that help reduce the impact of septic tanks on the region’s five first-magnitude springs.
“Improving our five first-magnitude springs is a key priority for our District,” said Brian Armstrong, the District’s executive director. “Thanks to the ongoing financial support from Governor Ron DeSantis, the Legislature and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), we are launching a new initiative to fund septic to sewer conversion projects that will reduce nitrogen and improve the health of our springs.”
Septic tanks contribute up to 42 percent of the current nitrogen pollution in the District’s five first-magnitude springs, according to DEP. Increased nitrogen can cause algae growth, which can be harmful to aquatic plants and wildlife. The District is working closely with DEP and local government partners on projects that reduce nitrogen in priority focus areas within the Rainbow River, Crystal River/Kings Bay, Homosassa River, Chassahowitzka River and Weeki Wachee River springsheds.
These initial five projects are estimated to reduce nitrogen by more than 10,000 pounds per year:
Crystal River/Kings Bay
- The Citrus County Cambridge Greens Septic to Sewer project
- The Crystal River Indian Waters Septic to Sewer Phase II project
- The Crystal River Southern Septic to Sewer project
Chassahowitzka and Homosassa
- The Citrus County Old Homosassa West Septic to Sewer project
- The Citrus County Old Homosassa East Septic to Sewer project
The Springs Coast Steering and Management committees, which are composed of local, regional and state agencies, support DEP project selection by reviewing each project and making recommendations to the District’s Governing Board and ultimately to DEP for funding consideration. The Governing Board has committed funding to restore the spring systems and to reduce the financial burden on the local communities and residents.