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Officials discuss projects with DEP

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City, FGUA seek grants

By Jeff Bryan

With the city and Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA) seeking more than $16 million in grant funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), officials didn’t balk at scheduling a last-minute meeting in Tallahassee to discuss the priority of its four applications it submitted for a portion of the $50 million in funds the agency has to award grants, according to City Administrator Dawn Bowne.

Bowne, along with Mayor Walter Green, Alan Gary of Kimley-Horn, Will Fontaine of FGUA met with Rina Vielhauer, deputy division director for the Division of Water Restoration Assistance; Joe Khan, program management director and Sandy Waters, program administrator, Water and Springs Restoration Program, Division of Water Restoration Assistance.

“I had been working for quite some time to organize a meeting with the deciding officials of FDEP Springshed Grant Applications to further educate them on our multiple grant applications that are before them to be considered before the end of the summer,” Bowne explained.

Bowne was notified Friday that a window came open and that FDEP would allow a visit Tuesday, June 5.

Of the four applications, Bowne said, it was vital that FDEP understand the importance of first awarding the Rainbow Springs grant in order for the city/FGUA to administer the remainder of the septic-to-sewer projects if awarded and the environmental impacts of each of the grants in this most important springshed area.

In addition, Bowne said, the city had been awarded the 180th Avenue Grant years ago to bring the package plants along that corridor into one central system. But, she explained, because the city plant could not accommodate those as well as future growth, the project was put on hold.

Key, she said, was being able to re-rate the city’s current plant for capacity.

“Would we love for them to award us all of them? Yes, of course,” she said. “But if we can only get one, the piece we need is the Rainbow Springs project and we can continue to apply for future grants. Right now, they really want this 180th project done, but to do that, we need to get the plant re-rated and do the 180th Project. This could be a true partnership.”

Grants will not be awarded until late August/early September, Bowne said. All told, grant applications statewide totaled $200 million for $50 million in available funding.

“They do look at which applications they’re going to get the most bang for the buck,” she explained. “Which project will remove most nitrates for least amount of money, they seem to pay attention to that. (The projects) are going to come to fruition; not just stand still, not be stagnant.

“What has happened with 180th project, we had to step back, do an analysis the current system, see what the impact of additional users from outside city limits would be. No one really understood what the project entailed at the time.”

Most important for the trek to Tallahassee was to educate the DEP, so it understood the city’s story; what led it to stall on the 180th Project.

“We were able to deliver that message well,” Bowne explained. “We wanted to make sure they understood the priority of grant applications, why there was the initial delay on the one project and that we now have the ability and readiness to move forward, that’s where FGUA comes in. They can move forward immediately, once funding is allocated, they are ready to move forward. DEP is certainly interested in knowing the community they support for these projects.”

Wastewater collection and treatment projects

* Burkett Road Septic to Sewer Project ($350,000): The primary objective of the project is to design and construct a sanitary sewer system which will remove from service approximately 11 septic tanks from the associated single family residential lots. The septic tanks contribute to the total nitrogen (TN) impairment of Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River. The removal of the septic tanks will result in a measurable reduction in the identified pollutant sources. This is quantified in the Total Nutrient Reduction section. This project is dependent on the rerating of the city’s WRF to 0.50 MGD.

* Chatmire Septic to Sewer Project ($3.7 million): The primary objective of the project is to design and construct a sanitary sewer system which will remove from service approximately 210 septic tanks from the associated single family residential lots. The septic tanks contribute to the total nitrogen (TN) impairment of Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River. The removal of the septic tanks will result in a measurable reduction in the identified pollutant sources. This is quantified in the Total Nutrient Reduction section. This project is dependent on the rerating of the city’s WRF to 0.50 MGD.

* Rainbow Springs WRF Decommissioning ($2.742 million): The primary objective of the PROJECT is to design and construct a sanitary sewer system which will remove from service the Rainbow Springs WRF (highlighted in the location map) which treats approximately 0.15 MGD. The WRF contributes to the total nitrogen (TN) impairment of Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River. The removal of the WRF will result in a substantial and measurable reduction in the identified pollutant sources. This is quantified in the Total Nutrient Removal section. This project is dependent on the rerating of the city’s WRF to 0.50 MGD.

* Rainbow River and Rio Vista Septic-to-Sewer Project ($10 million): The primary objective of the proejct is to design and construct a sanitary sewer system which will remove from service approximately 329 septic tanks from the associated single family residential lots. The septic tanks contribute to the total nitrogen (TN) impairment of Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River. The removal of the septic tanks will result in a measurable reduction in the identified pollutant sources. This is quantified in the Total Nutrient Reduction section. This project is dependent on the rerating of the city’s WRF to 0.50 MGD.