Three Alachua County cities will receive nearly $30 million for wastewater projects following Florida’s release of $240 million for 36 projects across the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the funds on Friday. A press release said the projects will reduce nutrients headed into Florida’s waterways and eliminate 20,000 septic tanks.
“By building better infrastructure that protects our waterways, we are ensuring the health of our environment for years to come,” DeSantis said in a press release.
The city of Gainesville will receive the second highest award amount on the list with $22.5 million. Gainesville will use the funds for enhanced biological nutrient removal and expansion at its reclamation facility on Main Street.
The city of Newberry will get $4 million to convert septic systems to central sewer.
High Springs will receive $2.4 million to expand its sewer system closer to I-75.
In neighboring Bradford County, the city of Stark will get $2 million for its wastewater treatment facility, while in Dixie County, Cross City will receive $4 million to convert septic tanks to the sewer system.
The financing comes through the state’s Wastewater Grant Program started in 2021. The program requires at least a 50% match by the government who receives the award, but that match can be waived by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for fiscally-constrained areas.
Last month, DeSantis announced $3.5 billion in funding for Everglades and water resources. His office also recently announced a federally funded $7 billion plan that would expedite 20 interstate projects, including a $479 million expansion of I-75.
Besides converting septic tanks, Newberry is seeking state support for a regional wastewater facility with High Springs and Archer.
Any penny given to Alachua County and in particular Gainesville is a waste of taxpayer’s money! No doubt about it! They will literally pi$$ it away!
Will there be enough actual study and investigation on a regional wastewater system? Transferring nearly all the wastewater from a widely dispersed system into a highly concentrated one is asking for trouble. How many of these systems operate without failures? When that much wastewater is accidentally released in an area it will generate many different catastrophes. What about when there is a problem with the system and a release will have to be ‘planned’?
Centralized projects often sound like good ideas until the experience of their operation show that there were huge expenses to compensate for something that wasn’t actually as much trouble as what replaced it.
Agencies around the world used to believe that central computers were best, now we use cloud computing. The idea of regional, statewide or even nationwide control of many different services sound like it opens the possibility for huge cost savings, but when the result is recognized years or even decades later, the planned savings weren’t found and the results more often than not have destroyed the nature of the communities whose local, personalized services were forever altered.
A different kind of environmental protection needs to be used – there are more kinds of ‘environment’ than simply those in nature.