The cities of Archer, Newberry and High Springs are among recipients of $481 million in awards for improving water quality in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement on Tuesday from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Spring Hill along with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Shawn Hamilton and Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains.
The awards were given to 103 wastewater and springs projects aimed at reducing nitrogen loading by more than 700,000 pounds a year, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.
Wastewater grant recipients in Alachua and neighboring counties include:
- City of Archer award of $5,850,000 for a wastewater project.
- City of Williston award of $1,825,000 for a wastewater plant upgrade.
- City of High Springs award for $411,050 for a septic tank phase out on County Road 236.
- City of Lake City award of $1,408,566 for wastewater improvements.
- City of Live Oak and the Suwannee River Water Management District award of $3,240,000 for septic to sewer and reuse.
- Marion County award of $20 million for Silver Springs Shores septic to sewer.
- City of Newberry award of $3,950,000 for enhanced wetland treatment.
The springs project grants awarded in Alachua and neighboring counties include:
- Alachua County EPD $1 million for Rembert Property Conservation easement.
- City of High Springs $2,582,500 for wastewater treatment facility expansion.
- City of High Springs $4,154,100 for wastewater system extensions.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, the funds were made available, “Through three grant programs administered by DEP—the Wastewater Grant Program, Springs restoration grants, and the Small Community Wastewater Grant Program.
The Wastewater Grant Program for “wastewater treatment improvements, including septic to sewer projects and projects to upgrade to advanced waste treatment” awarded $394 million.
Florida’s springs “including land acquisition/conservation easements and wastewater infrastructure improvements” were awarded $67 million with $50 million coming from state funds and $17 million coming from federal funds.
And $20 million in grants were awarded from the Small Community Wastewater Grant Program to be used for “wastewater facility improvements in Rural Areas of Economic Opportunity and financially disadvantaged communities.”