The State Department of Environmental Protection recently “solicited the lists of possible springs projects from the water management districts as part of a planning exercise to help establish a list that could provide a starting point should funding become available,” according to DEP spokeswomen Dee Ann Miller and reported in the Tampa Bay Times. She said the list of springs restoration projects “will evolve and be modified over time as we know how much money is available.”
The restoration project is needed as many of Florida’s springs have lost or reduced flow or have reversed themselves. Their loss of power has been accompanied by an increase in pollution, toxic algae blooms and in some cases, saltiness.
State water officials say it will take $122.4 million just to start to fix the problem. At least $10 million will be needed to replace septic tanks and small sewage plants near some of the state’s key springs in hopes of reducing their leaking of pollution into the aquifer.
An initiative launched by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2000 to explore what was wrong with the springs and fix it spent a total of $25 million before it was disbanded by Gov. Rick Scott.