The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has awarded more than $2 million in funding to the city of Longwood for septic-to-sewer projects benefiting Lake Jesup. The projects are funded by the state’s nonpoint source grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 grant, as well as DEP’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Water Quality Restoration program.
“We are proud to partner with Longwood to provide this grant to connect more than 350 properties currently on septic tanks to Seminole County’s wastewater collection system, improving water quality and helping restore this important natural resource,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein.
The Longwood septic tank removal project will benefit Lake Ruth, Lake Wildmere, Fairy Lake, and ultimately Lake Jesup, by connecting these properties to a central wastewater collection system, reducing nutrients entering these waterbodies. This project is part of ongoing water-quality restoration efforts for Lake Jesup and is included in the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), or restoration plan, for the lake, which was originally adopted in 2010. This plan is designed to reduce excess nutrients that have caused a decline in water quality. Stakeholders in this basin have identified and implemented a number of restoration projects and will continue to do so going forward.
“We thank DEP for this funding to help our city and communities move from septic tanks to existing sanitary sewer systems,” said Jon C. Williams, Longwood city manager. “These important projects will help reduce unwanted nutrients flowing into our nearby lakes and waterways, improving local water quality.”
Nonpoint source pollution results from many widespread sources rather than a single, distinct origin including stormwater runoff from urban surface areas and agricultural operations, septic tanks and erosion.
Since 2002, the department has awarded approximately $120 million in TMDL funding, including $6.1 million in fiscal year 2016-17, for projects designed to improve water quality in impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida’s stringent water-quality standards.
For more information on the TMDL program, including the application process and eligibility criteria, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/watersheds/tmdl_grant.htm.