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Florida News

Water projects get wave of money

Florida Wildlife Corridor
Florida Wildlife Corridor

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced the distribution of $481 million to 100 water-related projects across the state as part of grant programs administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

“This is what Florida's quality of life is all about. This is what our economy runs on,” DeSantis said while at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Hernando County. “You can't find this anywhere else in the country, really. This is unique. We're blessed to have it. And we have a responsibility to leave it better than we found it.”

All but $50 million of the money has come from federal sources. The bulk of the money, $394 million, will go to 72 wastewater-treatment improvement projects, including efforts to convert properties from using septic tanks to sewer systems and projects to upgrade waste treatment systems. DeSantis said septic to sewer conversion “is going to make a huge difference in water quality because of the runoff that we see from septic tanks.”

The funding includes $67 million for 28 projects involving natural springs, with an additional $20 million going to a program for wastewater facility improvements in rural and financially disadvantaged areas.

The biggest projects include $40 million for septic to sewer work in Lake Placid; $36.9 million for septic to sewer work in the area of Wekiwa Springs in Orange County; and $29.6 million for wastewater treatment facility work in Lake Butler. The state budget for the current fiscal year included $75 million for springs, of which $25 million was through federal COVID-19 stimulus money.