News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

At $50 Million, Springs Restoration Not Cheap

Iconic Weeki Wachee is just one of scores of springs targeted for preservation and cleanup.
Iconic Weeki Wachee is just one of scores of springs targeted for preservation and cleanup.

The state needs to spend another $50 million next year cleaning and preserving Florida’s polluted freshwater springs. That’s what a top regulator told a Senate panel Wednesday.

Iconic Weeki Wachee is just one of scores of springs targeted for preservation and cleanup.
Iconic Weeki Wachee is just one of scores of springs targeted for preservation and cleanup.

Weeki Wachee, Wakulla, Silver.  For Floridians, those are some of the most recognizable names when it comes to the state’s freshwater springs.

Unnoticed and unseen are the sources of tons of nitrogen and other nutrients streaming into scores of springs every year. Drew Bartlett, deputy secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, says the state needs to spend another $50 million next year to keep a $1.7 billion-dollar, two-decade cleanup program on track.

“We’re trying to take out septic systems that have been installed, we’re trying to retrofit wastewater treatment plants that need to remove nitrogen, we’re trying to improve irrigation systems, improve fertilization practices.”

But Senate environmental spending committee chairman Alan Hays, a Umatilla Republican, says he can’t make any promises. And even if he finds all of the money, environmentalists say it will only scratch the surface.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.