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March 26, 2008

The Southwest Florida Water Management District and the City of Dunnellon recently signed an agreement for a project to improve water quality within the Dunnellon watershed.

The watershed includes approximately five miles within the City of Dunnellon.

The city’s stormwater runoff currently flows to Route 40 and Cedar Street. The untreated runoff flows through a stormwater collection system that discharges directly into the Withlacoochee River. This project designs and installs a hydrodynamic separator within the stormwater collection system to filter out sediment in the stormwater before it is discharged to the river.

The city will act as the lead agency on this project, hiring all consultants and contractors. The project is expected to be complete by June 2010.

The cost to complete this project is expected to be $150,000, which will be divided equally between the District’s Withlacoochee River Basin Board and the city.

This project is part of the city’s watershed management plan, which was previously funded by the District and the city. The plan identifies multiple projects that will reduce flooding and improve water quality.

A watershed management plan is a process that identifies, prioritizes and addresses water resources issues within a watershed. The plan has five stages:

  • The collection of detailed information such as land elevation, drainage ditches, culverts, and other features that affect how water moves within the watershed;
  • The evaluation of the collected data to identify flooding or water quality problems;
  • The identification of potential projects, or best management practices, that will resolve the water resource problems;
  • The implementation of best management practices to resolve problems;
  • The regular updating of data to ensure that decisions are being made based on the best available information.

Stormwater is water that flows over land during and immediately after a rainstorm. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified stormwater runoff as Florida’s most serious water quality problem today. Pollutants associated with stormwater runoff include sediment, nutrients, heavy metals, oils, greases, pesticides and bacteria. Without proper treatment in developed areas, these pollutants adversely impact the quality of the receiving water.

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