Springs

Springs protection projects

Implementation projects to improve the health of Florida’s springs and their ecosystems are a major component of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Springs Protection Initiative. These projects support springs restoration in many ways. One of the more common types of projects involves the expanded use of reclaimed water to decrease nitrate pollution. This is accomplished by reducing or eliminating direct wastewater discharges and using this water to replace other irrigation sources, so that nutrient uptake and substantial reductions can occur in the irrigated turf or other plants. Reclaimed water projects also protect spring flows by reducing demand for surface and groundwater withdrawals.

Since 2014, nearly 80 projects protecting spring water flow and water quality have been funded through district cost-share programs. The district has contributed more than $35 million toward vital springs protection projects, resulting in more than 62 million gallons of alternative water supplied and 4 million gallons of water a day (mgd) conserved. These projects also have reduced total nitrogen to priority spring systems by 990,000 pounds and total phosphorus by 19,400 pounds.

Springs cost-share by the numbers:
  • 2017 Districtwide Cost-share Program
    • 15 springs protection projects in eight counties
    • $29 million in total project costs
    • $7.5 million in district cost-share dollars
    • 4.5 mgd of alternative water supply
    • 129,000 gallons of water a day conserved
    • A reduction of 98,600 pounds of total nitrogen per year
    • A reduction of 1,060 pounds of total phosphorus per year
  • 2017 Agricultural Cost-share Program
    • 4 springs protection projects in two counties
    • $881,000 in total project costs
    • $660,800 in district cost-share dollars
    • 200,000 gallons of water a day conserved
    • A reduction of 1,680 pounds of total nitrogen per year
    • A reduction of 350 pounds of total phosphorus per year
  • 2017 REDI-Innovative Cost-share Program
    • 1 spring protection project in one county
    • $558,200 in total project costs
    • $500,000 in district cost-share dollars
    • 36,000 gallons of water a day conserved
  • 2016 Agricultural Cost-share Program
    • 4 springs protection projects in two counties
    • $906,000 in total project costs
    • $662,000 in district cost-share dollars
    • 425,000 gallons of water a day conserved
    • A reduction of 1,700 pounds of total nitrogen per year
    • A reduction of 600 pounds of total phosphorus per year
  • 2016 Districtwide Cost-share Program
    • 11 springs protection projects in three counties
    • $29 million in total project costs
    • $6.6 million in district cost-share dollars
    • 21mgd of alternative water supply
    • 1.6 mgd of water conserved
    • A reduction of 88,000 pounds of total nitrogen per year
    • A reduction of 17,100 pounds of total phosphorus per year
  • 2016 REDI-Innovative Cost-share Program
    • 4 springs protection projects in three counties
    • $2.33 million in total project costs
    • $1.2 million in district cost-share dollars
    • A reduction of 1,450 pounds of total nitrogen per year
    • A reduction of 240 pounds of total phosphorus per year
  • 2016 Springs Water Conservation Cost-share Program
    • 6 springs protection projects in two counties
    • $1.2 million in total project costs
    • $589,000 in cost-share dollars from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    • 56,000 gallons of water a day conserved
  • 2015 Districtwide Cost-share Program
    • 11 springs protection projects in six counties
    • $17.8 million in total project costs
    • $4.6 million in district cost-share dollars
    • 12.1 mgd of alternative water supply
    • A reduction of 47,600 pounds of total nitrogen per year
  • 2015 Agricultural Cost-share Program
    • 8 springs protection projects
    • $767,250 in total project costs
    • $690,000 in district cost-share dollars
    • 103,000 gallons of water a day conserved
    • A reduction of 125,000 pounds of total nitrogen per year
  • 2014 Districtwide Cost-share Program
    • 12 springs protection projects in five counties
    • $46 million in construction costs
    • $13 million in district cost-share dollars
    • 24.4 mgd of alternative water supply
    • 1.6 mgd of water conserved
    • A reduction of 623,000 pounds of total nitrogen per year

Project spotlight

Apopka Water Conservation Program

The city of Apopka upgraded a water conservation incentive program using 2016 Districtwide Cost-Share Program dollars. The project provides free irrigation and landscape evaluations for high water use residential, commercial and local government customers. Certified irrigation efficiency specialists provide recommendations for improvements and offer rebates to implement the improvements. The improved data allows the utility to communicate specifics in a timely manner to customers to help change water use behaviors. Benefits include reducing groundwater withdrawals that impact Rock Springs and the Wekiwa springshed.

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OUC Conservation Project and Water Wise Neighbor Program

With 2016 district cost-share funding, Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) initiated a conservation education project to reduce future water demands in central Florida. The program focuses on water conservation education and works to assist customers to implement water conserving improvements, retrofits OUC properties to use waterwise landscaping, and uses the University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities to perform measurements and verifications.

Eustis Eastern Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion

The city of Eustis is expanding its Eastern Wastewater Treatment Plant to treat an additional 1 million gallons of effluent a day (mgd). The project expands the plant from the current 0.3 mgd to 1.3 mgd and will offer 1,200 septic tank owners the opportunity to connect to central sewer and will provide capacity for future treatment that will avoid the need for new septic tank installations. This project will help to reduce total nitrogen to the spring system by 91,378 pounds per year and will provide 1 mgd of reuse to a growing community.

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Deltona Storage and Treatment Improvements

As part of the Volusia Blue Springs Recovery Strategy, this project is part of the next phase of the West Volusia Water Suppliers Project 4 Deltona Lakes Pump Station, Transmission Main and Augmentation Facilities. The project includes a 3-million-gallon raw water storage tank for stormwater and future surface water, a 1 million gallon reclaimed water tank, chemical treatment, flocculation, filtration, and chlorination for 4 mgd treatment capacity. The Deltona Lake wastewater treatment plant and Eastern Water Reclamation Facility will provide reclaimed water to this system. This project also supports flood protection with the stormwater storage tanks that will be available to store excess floodwater from land-locked areas of the city of Deltona that experience flooding during large storm events.

Volusia County Reclaimed Water Main Extension for I-4/State Road 472 Activity Center

This project will provide reclaimed water for irrigation to development of a new commercial/office/light industrial activity center at the intersection of I-4 and State Road 472 in Volusia County. The area includes 1,800 acres and will include two hospital facilities among the new development that is expected to occur within a year. This project benefits the St. Johns River and Volusia Blue Spring by preventing groundwater withdrawals for irrigation purposes and by enhancing recharge in the Blue Spring basin. This project will further the objectives of the adopted Volusia Blue Spring MFL prevention and recovery strategy as currently being implemented jointly by Volusia County and the cities of Deland, Deltona and Orange City, in cooperation with the district.

City of Ocala Well and Septic Tank Reduction Program

The $10 million project includes the installation and extension of existing gravity sewer and potable water to eliminate approximately 2.3 million gallons of unmetered potable water and untreated septic tank waste. Domestic waste will be treated at an advanced wastewater treatment facility and provide metered potable water services where currently unavailable.

Hawthorne Water Main Replacement

The project will replace approximately 6,500 linear feet of existing water mains with new PVC water mains and will replace service lines to each customer. While the improvements will result in better quality water being delivered to the residents of Hawthorne, it will also reduce the frequency of water main breaks in the area and reduce the city’s overall consumption of water by approximately 36,000 gallons per day.

Alachua County Landscape and Florida Water StarSM Rebates

As part of a previous cost-share project with the district, Alachua County offered free Florida Water Star certification inspections to builders and developers in Alachua County. While many expressed interest in the program, the building community repeatedly requested financial incentives to offset the estimated $1,400 in increased costs associated with installing efficient fixtures, landscapes and irrigation to meet the program’s water conservation standards. This program provides a 50-percent rebate for each home and commercial structure that receives Florida Water Star certification during the funding period.