Water-Related News

Exploring the widespread impacts of ongoing nitrogen pollution

The release of reactive nitrogen into the environment is having severe and ongoing ecosystem, economic, and human health impacts. How can we reduce our nitrogen footprint?

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients in the environment, but its natural cycling has been significantly altered by human activities, specifically the release of excessive and harmful amounts of nitrogen from various sources including fertilizers, animal and human wastes, fossil fuel combustion, and mining.

Nitrogen Overload: Environmental Degradation, Ramifications, and Economic Costs, a new book recently published by AGU (American Geophysical Union), seeks to improve our understanding of the negative impacts of so much excess reactive nitrogen in the environment.

Visit the link below for a summary of content from the book. In the article the author, Brian G. Katz, a scientist who has spent the past four decades investigating the transport and fate of nitrogen in groundwater, springs, surface waters, and the atmosphere, gives an overview of the main issues.

Governor announces $50M in springs funding

On Friday, Sept. 17th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced $50 million for more than 20 statewide springs restoration projects during a press conference in Weeki Wachee.

Among the projects that will be funded are these:

Northwest Florida Water Management District
$1.1 million to extend central sewer service to the Tara Estates neighborhood located north of Marianna, including abandoning septic tanks proximate to the Chipola River.

Southwest Florida Water Management District
A total of more than $8.3 million for projects in Marion County that will help protect Rainbow Springs, including Burkitt Road Septic to Sewer, Northwest Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion, Oak Bend I-75 Water Quality Improvement and the 180th Avenue Package Plant Abatement.

St. Johns River Water Management District
$1.1 million for the Apopka West Reuse Storage Facility and Reclaimed Water Extension project that will provide nearly 3.48 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, benefiting Wekiwa and Rock springs.

Suwannee River Water Management District
A total of more than $2.3 million for the acquisition of more than 3,600 acres of land to protect springs in Columbia County Grasslands (Ichetucknee Springs), Devil’s Ear Springs Recharge (Ginnie Springs Group), Santa Fe Springs and Sawdust Spring (Sawdust and Devil’s Ear springs). The acquisition of these lands will help improve aquifer recharge potential, enhance recreational opportunities and protect native species.

EPA allocates $1M to help USF study harmful algal blooms

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sending $1 million to the University of South Florida to help study methods to control harmful algal blooms (HAB).

The USF study aims to look at “nutrient treatment technologies” to help manage those blooms inside Lake Okeechobee.

On Thursday, the EPA announced nearly $6.5 million in funding for seven different research institutions across the country to help study mitigation efforts.

“Harmful algal blooms are a serious and persistent problem across all 50 states that can have severe impacts on human health, the environment, and the economy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a release on the grant funds.

Pinellas receives $75K grant to evaluate flood risks

Pinellas County is one of the 33 communities in Florida that has been selected for grant funding under the State of Florida’s Florida Resilient Coastlines Program for the Financial Year 2020/2021. Pinellas County will utilize the $75,000 grant for a proposed project that would identify and evaluate resilience-based policies in the Coastal Management Element of its Comprehensive Plan that address flood risks.

The grant-funded project will help the County achieve compliance with Florida’s Peril of Flood state statute. Additionally, the project will also evaluate policies with the County’s current Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan, which assists our community’s ability to quickly and successfully redevelop following a major disaster. The project will also identify the local community’s vulnerabilities that need to be addressed well in advance of a major disaster in order to ensure a speedy and well-thought out, post-disaster recovery.

The project will involve public workshops and outreach through social media, website, and the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Storymap, in addition to coordination with various departments, Pinellas County’s municipalities, and other stakeholders that are identified through the planning process.

The State of Florida provides grant funding to promote community-resiliency planning and supports projects that address risks associated with floods, other disasters and changing coastal conditions.

The time-frame for the grant is from Aug. 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

Pinellas receives $75,000 grant to identify and evaluate flood risks

Pinellas County is one of the 33 communities in Florida that has been selected for grant funding under the State of Florida’s Florida Resilient Coastlines Program for the Financial Year 2020/2021. Pinellas County will utilize the $75,000 grant for a proposed project that would identify and evaluate resilience-based policies in the Coastal Management Element of its Comprehensive Plan that address flood risks.

The grant-funded project will help the County achieve compliance with Florida’s Peril of Flood state statute. Additionally, the project will also evaluate policies with the County’s current Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan, which assists our community’s ability to quickly and successfully redevelop following a major disaster. The project will also identify the local community’s vulnerabilities that need to be addressed well in advance of a major disaster in order to ensure a speedy and well-thought out, post-disaster recovery.

The project will involve public workshops and outreach through social media, website, and the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Storymap, in addition to coordination with various departments, Pinellas County’s municipalities, and other stakeholders that are identified through the planning process.

The State of Florida provides grant funding to promote community-resiliency planning and supports projects that address risks associated with floods, other disasters and changing coastal conditions.

The time-frame for the grant is from Aug. 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

FWC funds grant to study airborne red tide toxins

DAVIE — Two University of Florida scientists are the recipients of a $200,000 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They will use that money over the next 10 months to develop the methodology leading to a device that detects and measures the amount of toxins in the air from red tides.

Red tide events are a type of harmful algal bloom (HABs) caused by the species Karenia brevis that produces poisons dubbed brevetoxins. These red tide occurrences are progressively impacting the health of humans, marine life, and other wildlife. Research also shows that the frequency of red tide occurrences imposes economic consequences on a variety of markets and industries.

When these brevetoxins begin to mix in the air in an aerosolized form, they cause a range of harmful health symptoms including breathing difficulties, chest pain, nausea, skin and eye irritation when they are present in or near the waters. These brevetoxins can kill fish, shellfish, and marine mammals as well.

UCF Researchers Developing Models to Predict Storm Surges

In a study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, researchers developed models to predict extreme changes in sea level by linking storm surges to large-scale climate variability that is related to changes in atmospheric pressure and the sea surface temperature, such as El Niño.

El Niño is a periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and South America that can affect weather around the globe.

FDACS launches “Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program”

Last week, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) launched the Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program, a $2 million grant program to upgrade publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants with energy-efficient technology.

This new grant initiative was developed by the FDACS Office of Energy based on the findings of their study entitled “Mapping the Energy Landscape of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants in the State of Florida.”

This recently completed study provides a baseline on energy efficiency and renewable energy measures and practices at water and wastewater treatment plants in Florida, and recommendations on how to reduce energy use and operating costs. The study found that Florida’s wastewater treatment plants could save annually 26,763,827 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 6,354 tons of carbon dioxide through energy efficiency improvements.