The St. Johns River Water Management District is funding a $1.5 million project in Palatka to improve the quality of stormwater discharges to the St. Johns River.
It’s the second phase of the City of Palatka’s South Historic District Stormwater project, which aims to reduce and treat runoff from a residential neighborhood that discharges to the St. Johns River.
“[The] City of Palatka is extremely grateful of SJRWMD’s generosity,” said Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill. “The district’s cost-share grants have enabled us to complete stormwater and potable water line infrastructure improvements in the South Historic District. We look forward to a continued successful partnership with the district.”
During the first phase of the project, aging stormwater infrastructure was replaced to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient loading to the river. Nitrogen and phosphorus loading in Florida’s waterways is considered a leading driver of the harmful algal blooms that have plagued the state in recent years.
The second phase will involve the installation of an exfiltration trench and stormwater conveyance (methods designed to transport surface runoff without causing erosion or flooding) over 11 blocks of Palatka’s South Historic District, targeting the two remaining discharge points that weren’t included in the first phase.
The SJRWMD estimates that when the project is finished the St. Johns River will see a total nitrogen reduction of 128 pounds per year and a total phosphorus reduction of nearly 17 pounds per year.
That's as Florida's new Blue Green Algae Task Force gets set to hold its second meetingon August 1st to discuss ways to reduce the impacts of toxic algae blooms.
“Cost-share partnerships are a great way to ensure worthy projects like this one are constructed,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We are enthusiastic about our continued work with the city of Palatka to reduce nutrient loading to the river, the centerpiece of the district’s hometown.”