LIVE OAK, FLA., Jan. 8, 2020 – The residents of High Springs, Fla., know their local springs are not only some of Florida’s greatest natural resources but are also vital to the local community.
“We need to leave a good legacy for our children,” said Byron Williams, mayor of the City of High Springs. “We need to make sure our springs are in great shape and that our next generation has safe water to enjoy and to drink.”
Mayor Williams explained that for several years, most High Springs’ residents had been using septic systems, which were increasing the levels of nitrogen in local springs and rivers. The “karst” geography of the area, part of what makes it special, also means nitrogen in the groundwater easily impacts connected water sources nearby. Existing local septic systems, built over sensitive springsheds, were aging and often failing.
With more than 4,200 citizens in High Springs on septic systems in 2000, the City began planning for a wastewater treatment plant and centralized sewer system. The facilities would be constructed in phases to properly treat wastewater.
By removing 216 septic tanks and the package plant, a pre-manufactured treatment facility used to treat wastewater, the estimated nitrogen reduction to the groundwater is 2,387 pounds per year. Each project, from design phase to final construction, takes around three years to complete.
The effort to help residents switch from septic to city sewer began with the Hornsby Springs project, taking neighbors off their private septic systems. There are now several projects within the initiative, in partnership with the Suwannee River Water Management District. All projects share the common goal of reducing nitrogen in the groundwater within the Santa Fe River Basin Management Action Plan Area which includes Poe Springs and the Santa Fe River.
“I would like for future generations, for my grandson’s grandchildren, to be able to enjoy a resource that’s clean and abundant,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. “That’s my personal goal, in this role at the District.”
Read more at www.MySuwanneeRiver.com.