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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The City of High Springs Commission is considering recommendations about expansion of the water treatment facility (WTF) and of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

Tim Norman of Mittauer & Associates addressed City Commissioners during the Oct. 22 meeting to formally request that the City consider recommendations on ways in which the two major projects might possibly be funded.

At earlier meetings and workshops both projects had been identified as necessary if the City is to continue to grow and provide adequate services to citizens. The WWTP expansion will also provide a higher level of treatment and aquifer recharge, all of which are important elements in reaching springs restoration goals.

Norman said his recommended actions would not obligate the City to move ahead with these projects using the suggested funding options, but rather would help provide the City with additional information and options.

Authorization to submit a request for inclusion to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) State Revolving Fund on behalf of the water treatment plant will also allow the engineering firm to begin work with City staff and FDEP to refine the City’s primary needs.

In the case of the wastewater treatment plant expansion, the current cost estimate to accomplish that work is $5.8 million. Norman received authorization from the Commission to submit funding applications to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for the FDEP Springs Funding and Alternative Water Supply Funding programs. This is the preferred funding choice because these programs can provide up to 100 percent grant funding, thereby assisting with the City’s goal of keeping citizens water and sewer rates reasonable..

Although the applications are submitted to SRWMD, they actually make recommendations for approval to FDEP, the agency making the final decision.

“The project received approval last year,” said Mittauer’s Vice President for Community Development Gregory Lang. “However, the water system improvements request for inclusion was withdrawn by a staff member no longer with the City. “We’re resubmitting the application in the hope that it will be approved for funding,” he said. All funding programs are competitive and although High Springs has demonstrated need, there is no guarantee that any specific application will be funded,” said Lang.

As a fallback to FDEP Springs and Alternative Water Supply funding, Commissioners also authorized a request for inclusion to the FDEP State Revolving Fund for low interest loan funding.

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