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DeSantis announces state grant that will further wetland construction in Newberry

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (WCJB) - Governor DeSantis and the Department of Environmental Protection are awarding $481 million to cities across the state to improve water quality.

The grant is meant to help 103 projects across the state to construct, upgrade, or expand wastewater treatment facilities.

“The 72 wastewater projects are expected to reduce total nitrogen statewide by more than 619,000 pounds per year,” said DeSantis.

Newberry is hoping to contribute to that goal by creating wetlands.

City commissioners approved a contract to purchase 93 acres next to the wastewater treatment facility for the wetlands.

“The vegetation in those basins removes nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, protecting the groundwater which ultimately moves into springs,” said Mike New, Newberry City Manager.

City officials said these wetlands will improve the quality of life for residents.

“Not only are we going to be more environmentally friendly, we’re also going to be more odor friendly in the City of Newberry,” said Mayor Jordan Marlowe.

Marlowe said the state recently raised the bar for cities when it comes to protecting the environment, but this grant will be a huge help in achieving that goal.

“I’m very grateful to the state that they recognize that sensitivity and they’re funding the projects that are going to help us protect that environment.”

Marlowe said because of the expense tied to this project, he’s hoping to form a partnership.

“We’re going to reach out to our partners in the city of Archer, High Springs, and Trenton. We’re going to let them know that we’re being successful on our end and hopefully we can bring something together that’s going to be to the benefit of four cities, not just one,” he said.

In a statement from The Suwannee River Water Management District, which covers the majority of North Central Florida, they said:

“Our area was also approved for over $67.8 million in federal funds across 17 projects to improve wastewater treatment facilities. We are grateful that these projects will benefit our local resources by reducing over 24,000 pounds of total nitrogen per year.

The Suwannee River Valley is home to almost 450 springs, which is the highest concentration in Florida, North America, and arguably the world. Our area boasts glimpses of wild and untouched Florida, with unique, one-of-a-kind natural wonders. These funds help us protect, preserve, and restore the resources of the Springs Heartland.”

City officials said the wetland project is in the planning phase right now.

They’re hoping to start construction in 2024.

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