July 13, 2015
SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has committed $1,084,356 to remove septic tanks and install municipal sewer connections at Silver Springs State Park. This project will eliminate the potential for the park’s septic tanks to leach nutrient pollution – about 2,372 pounds of nitrogen annually – into groundwater and consequently the spring system.
“DEP is actively committed to protecting our natural resources,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Removing these septic tanks protects water quality and advances our ongoing restoration efforts for this system.”
Nutrient pollution, or an excess of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, is one of the primary obstacles facing water quality in many of Florida’s spring systems. These nutrients are naturally present in the water and necessary for the healthy growth of plant and animal life. An excess of these nutrients however, can lead to complications in the water like rapid algal growth, habitat smothering and oxygen depletion. DEP is in the process of developing a long-term restoration plan to restore the water quality at Silver Springs. Silver Springs is one of the largest and most well-known of Florida’s first magnitude springs.
“Protecting and improving Silver Springs is one of our top priorities as we continue our renovation and restoration efforts at Silver Springs State Park,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service. “This project takes us one step closer to addressing water quality issues in this iconic spring.”
When the installation is complete, each of the park’s 59 campsites and 10 cabins will be connected to the municipal sewer. During construction, campsites and cabins will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis only. Visitors may call the park at 352-236-7148 for availability.
The Florida Park Service, volunteers and others within the department have been working diligently since 2013 to improve the Silver Springs State Park property as the former Silver Springs Attraction is incorporated into the state park. An environmental assessment and many significant renovations to the park have been completed and improvements will continue to protect the water quality of the spring, enhance facilities and add new facilities to safeguard the natural and cultural resources in the park.
For more information on Silver Springs State Park, please click here.