More Than $2 Million Committed to Restoration Project for Charlotte Harbor and Peace River Estuaries

Oct. 17, 2014

~DEP partners with Charlotte County Utilities to improve stormwater infrastructure and water quality~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has awarded Charlotte County Utilities more than $2 million for a stormwater system improvement project to benefit both the Charlotte Harbor and Peace River Estuaries. The project is expected to significantly reduce nutrient pollution, reducing total phosphorous by 98 percent and total nitrogen by 95 percent. Charlotte County Utilities is providing match funding of more than $12 million.

“This grant program funding builds upon the commitment of local governments to their local water resources,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “By combining resources we can more efficiently address restoration across the state.”

Water that flows off land and into creeks, streams or rivers after a rain is referred to as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff usually contains a number of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a waterbody, rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other complications can develop. Treatment or retention of stormwater runoff reduces the impact on water quality.

“Charlotte County is thrilled that we have been given this financial consideration and support from the State of Florida Legislature and FDEP,” Terri Couture, director of Charlotte County Utilities. “These monies will be used toward revitalization of the impaired waters of Charlotte Harbor by making the East & West Spring Lake Wastewater Municipal Service Benefit Unit affordable for the citizens so they can replace their faulty septic tanks with central sewer.”

Projects are ranked for funding based on the impaired status of the associated waterbody, the estimated pollutant load reductions the project is designed to achieve, the cost-effectiveness of the project and the percentage of local matching funds. Another important consideration is whether the applicant has a stormwater utility fee or other dedicated revenue source to continue effective stormwater management in the future. Applicants are encouraged to include public education elements in their requests, because informing the public on best management practices to keep pollutants out of the stormwater system is critical to success.

One of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide stormwater program, Florida has long been a national leader in tackling the challenge of stormwater management. Florida is also one of the first states in the nation to directly address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water-quality restoration program.

The department administers this grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. For more information on the grant program and the application process, click here.

Information on DEP’s restoration programs is available here.

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