Indian River Lagoon Partnership Funds $2.4 Million Septic-to-Sewer Project
Project will help improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has announced a partnership with the St. Johns River Water Management District, Indian River County and the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program to provide $2.4 million for the West Wabasso septic-to-sewer project. The project, which will work to improve water quality, includes the construction of a centralized gravity sewer system in the Whitfield subdivision and conversion of approximately 54 properties currently on septic to the new sewer system.
"We are pleased to partner with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program and Indian River County to help the West Wabasso area convert from septic to sewer," said Drew Bartlett, DEP's deputy secretary for ecosystems restoration. "The Indian River Lagoon is one of Florida’s most iconic natural treasures and projects like this help us improve water quality in this ecosystem and protect Florida’s environment."
“Through the support of our Governing Board, we are grateful to have provided a significant contribution to this project geared at improving water quality in the Indian River Lagoon,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “It’s by working together on projects in this region we can continue to move the needle when it comes to protecting and restoring this important waterbody.”
Nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorous, are naturally present in the water and necessary for the healthy growth of plant and animal life. However, too much nitrogen or phosphorous can harm water quality. Excess nutrients can come from insufficient treatment at wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater runoff, densely clustered septic systems and fertilizer use. Septic systems can contribute to nitrogen pollution of surface waters, especially in areas in Florida with highly permeable (sandy) soils, like the Indian River Lagoon basin. This makes addressing septic tanks an important component in water quality restoration.
"The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program is proud to be a funding partner for the West Wabasso septic-to-sewer project. This project is possible because of partnership funding from Indian River County, the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the IRL Council," said Dr. Duane De Freese, executive director of the IRL Council & Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program. "Working together with the West Wabasso community, we are protecting the water quality of our groundwater, surface waters of the Indian River Lagoon, and the quality of life in West Wabasso."
"We are grateful to our funding partners for helping this financially disadvantaged community," said Peter D. O'Bryan, chairman of the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners. "The ability to provide sewer services to West Wabasso will benefit not only the community, but also the Indian River Lagoon by reducing nutrients that might otherwise filter into the groundwater and lagoon."
About DEP's Division of Water Restoration Assistance
The Division of Water Restoration Assistance is responsible for providing loans and grants for projects that improve the quality and quantity of the state's water resources and provide a significant benefit to the environment and local communities. Projects in several program areas are funded that improve stormwater quality, reduce pollutants entering surface water and groundwater, protect springs, collect and treat wastewater, produce and distribute drinking water, nourish beaches and reclaim mined land. For more information, visit https//floridadep.gov/wra