In 2016, the Florida Legislature established the “Outstanding Florida Springs Act,” which identifies springs that are impacted by increased nitrogen and require additional protections to ensure their conservation and restoration for future generations. These protections are included in water quality restoration plans, known as Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). These plans are focused on reducing the nitrogen that is impacting the water quality of these springs.
The legislation requires each BMAP to identify sources of nitrogen within the springshed and include projects and strategies to achieve the reductions needed to improve water quality in the region. Thirty springs are named as Outstanding Florida Springs by this legislation.
More details about these plans, septic system requirements and fertilizer requirements designed to help improve water quality in these designated springsheds is available on the Frequently Asked Questions.
The Citrus County Wastewater Feasibility Analysis is being conducted to determine how to fulfill the BMAPs for Crystal River/Kings Bay and Chassahowitzka-Homosassa Priority Focus Areas.
The data used by FDEP to identify a Priority Focus Area includes groundwater travel time to the spring, hydrogeology, nutrient loads in the spring watershed, and other factors, as well as easily identified boundaries such as roads or political jurisdictions.
Crystal River/Kings Bay
The natural water system within this area, the Crystal River/Kings Bay Springs Group, is one of the most complex water resource systems in Florida. The system is a network of more than 30 major springs which supply fresh water to King’s Bay and Crystal River. It has been determined that the main source of pollution in this area is an increased level of nitrogen due to septic tanks. This area is known for its natural water clarity and vegetation, as well as its endangered manatee population.
The natural water system in this area includes the Chassahowitzka Springs Group, which has its start in the springs that are the source waters for the Chassahowitzka River; and the Homosassa Springs Group, which has its start in six springs that are the source waters for the Homosassa River. This area is known for sports fishing and recreational activities such as canoeing and kayaking. It has been determined the main source of pollution is an increased level of nitrogen due to septic tank usage and agricultural runoff.
The health of the Crystal River/Kings Bay and Chassahowitzka-Homosassa areas has declined over the years, but there is hope that with proper management and education, the degradation can be reversed.
- The development of a plan to accommodate additional sewer collection for properties that need to be connected and,
- The development of an implementation plan to reduce nitrogen discharge from septic systems by upgrading septic systems or connecting to sewer.
To identify opportunities within Citrus County’s wastewater system to improve water quality of the springs within the Crystal River/Kings Bay and Chassahowitzka- Homosassa Primary Focus Areas, as well as protect groundwater sources. This includes providing sewer services to areas where it is reasonable to do so.