Fanning Springs breaks ground on wastewater system
By Carrie A. Mizell
Construction is now underway for the City of Fanning Springs’ centralized wastewater treatment facility.
City officials, local residents and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development officials gathered at Fort Fanning Historical Park on April 17 for a groundbreaking ceremony.
City of Fanning Springs representatives are shown l-r, Doyle Frierson, water plant operator; Paul Chase; Barbara Locke; Bob Kerr; Cheryl Nekola; Stoney Smith ; and Charlie Houder, Assistant Executive
Director of the Suwannee River Water Management District.
The City of Fanning Springs received a $2,946,000 loan and a $2,855,000 grant from Rural Development for construction of a centralized wastewater collection and treatment facility. The project, leveraged with $600,000 in state Community Development Block Grant funds, will decommission existing septic tank systems, replace three packaged wastewater treatment plants and reduce the amount of nitrates in the community’s groundwater.
“A safe, reliable wastewater system is vital to economic growth and development,” said Richard Machek, Rural Development state director. “But none of this happens automatically, it’s more than putting pipes in the ground. It takes vision and leadership. The City of Fanning Springs is not only making an investment in their future, but in the spirit of Earth Day, they are also safeguarding the area’s natural resources and investing in the future of the environment as well.”
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection had identified Fanning Springs as an area of concern due to high levels of nitrates in the community’s groundwater. The new wastewater treatment facility will be capable of advanced treatment for nitrogen, thereby improving spring and groundwater conditions in the area. Fanning Springs reportedly pours 65 million gallons of spring water into the Suwannee River each day, therefore this project will not only benefit the community, but also the river that runs through it.
“Fanning Springs’ new wastewater project is very important for the protection of our environment and our economy,” said Fanning Springs Mayor Cheryl Nekola.
“We feel that this new facility will bring prosperity to our citizens and a better quality of life. Our city has a positive vision for today and tomorrow.”