Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

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Santa Fe River Springs Protection Forum in High Springs – Waste Water and Nitrogen Reduction

Pam-Forum 1


The Santa Fe Springs protection Forum, sponsored by the Alachua County Dept. of Environmental Protection and organized and executed with perfect precision by Water Conservation Coordinator Stacie Greco, held the quarterly meeting today in downtown High Springs at the High Springs New Century Woman’s Club.

Several members and advisors of OSFR were present, among them President Pam Smith who took advantage of the “Introductions and Announcements” opportunity to give a detailed run-down of the current and on-going activities on our group, with detailed information on the  sudden chicken factory under construction near the city limits of Fort White, a new potential threat to the nearby, already damaged, Outstanding Waterway,  Santa Fe River.

Roxanne Groover and Stacie Greco

Presentations were given by Elke Ursin,  Environmental Health Program Consultant of the Florida Department of Health and by Roxanne Groover, Executive Director of the Florida Onsite Wastewater Association.

Elke outlined in great detail new, experimental systems for reducing nitrates in septic tanks, which may complement existing septic systems and may add two more tanks below the original one.  In several of the field sites the nitrates were reduced from 91 to 97 percent.   These systems show great promise and are estimated to cost between 15 and 35 thousand dollars, depending upon existing infrastructure.

Roxanne Groover presented the somewhat alarming overall picture of the human waste disposal problem in Florida, where we currently have (estimates vary) perhaps 2.3 million septic tanks and generate about 525 million gallons of wastewater per year.  As if that were not problem enough, municipal wastewater treatment plants are not required to accept homeowners’ septic waste, and the issue of where to dispose of the waste is an emerging problem.   Furthermore, those treatment plants that do accept this waste may be overloaded and contend with old and limited infrastructure.

Stacie kept the enthusiastic speakers and question-askers in line, finished everything that was required, and adjourned promptly at 12 o’clock – meeting to resume at the Lodge of Poe Springs at two o’clock, for the field trip with Pete Butt of Karst Environmental Services.

Elke Ursin Addresses the Group


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