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July 20, 2007

A project cooperatively funded by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Citrus County will improve water quality entering Lake Tsala Apopka.

The project includes the design, permitting and construction of stormwater treatment areas at five county-maintained boat ramps and the associated parking areas.

A study of the lake was conducted to choose and prioritize the treatment sites. Further, a hydrologic and hydraulic model of each site will be developed as part of the design stage.

Each of the five selected sites constitutes a source of pollutants entering the lake from stormwater runoff. Phosphorus and nitrogen entering the water act as nutrients and cause excess plant growth that clogs the waterways. Also, sediment and suspended particles accumulate on the bottom of the lake, reducing its depth in the boat ramp areas.

The retrofit system will retain and treat the stormwater runoff before it enters the lake, allowing solids to settle on the bottom of the retention ponds.

That treatment process is expected to reduce the amount of sediment and suspended particles, phosphorus and nitrogen in the water entering the lake by as much as 90 percent.

The cost of the project is expected to be approximately $237,000. Funding will be equally divided among the Districts Withlacoochee River Basin Board and Citrus County.

The project is expected to be complete by June 2008.

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