Tallahassee Holds Off on Permit Renewal for Wastewater Treatment

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Friday, City of Tallahassee officials held a press conference to tell citizens that runoff from the southeast farm sprayfield into Wakulla Springs is worse than anticipated.

"We have seen a trend which indicates this it is probably a little worse than we thought. Therefore, rather that waiting any longer, we want to move forward," said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.

The city has withdrawn its permit renewal proposal and is developing a new plan estimated to cost $100 million. The Florida Wildlife Federation challenged the renewal of the permit.

"They had concerns with the impacts on the environment, particularly Wakulla Springs, and we share some of those concerns. We've said all along if we're part of the problem, we'll be part of the solution," said Tallahassee City Attorney Jim English.

Those who frequent Wakulla Springs say the signs of the runoff are very visible in the algae growth.

"It's all green and squishy and kind of nasty looking," said Madeline Champany, a Wakulla County resident.

"I'm glad that the City of Tallahassee has finally decided what we've been telling them for a while. They are largely responsible for the nutrient problem that Wakulla Springs has. I'm glad they are willing to take action and decrease the nutrients," said Della Hanson with Friends of Wakulla Springs.

A city spokesperson says three groups of scientists are still performing tests on the runoff. Their results should be complete in about three to six months.

The city will continue to use the sprayfield on the existing permit. Officials hope to have a permit renewal filed by the end of this year.