Lake Apopka's water quality is improving thanks to a variety of water quality restoration projects aimed at reducing the amount of phosphorus in the lake. Pictured are SJRWMD Board member Susan Dolan, Joe Dunn from Friends of Lake Apopka, SJRWMD Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle, City of Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson and Timothy McIntee, chief executive officer of Phosphorus Free Water Solutions.

The St. Johns River Water Management District hosted a preview visit to Lake Apopka highlighting a project that will soon use innovative technology to remove phosphorus and continue improving the lake’s water quality. The technology was successfully tested in 2017 on the Lake Apopka North Shore. Following a competitive bid process, this new project is the next step toward securing further water quality benefits for Lake Apopka.

“The promising test project results convinced us to move ahead with this new method of improving water quality,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This next stage is a pay-for-performance demonstration project that will help us continue our work on behalf of Lake Apopka while embracing our enthusiasm for innovative, collaborative ventures.”

“We’re excited to be putting our innovative CleanWater technology to work at Lake Apopka,” said Don Luke, chief operating officer of Phosphorus Free Water Solutions. “We’re passionate about the removal of phosphorus and our novel, environmentally friendly process to remove contaminants from our water and waterways is proven to deliver verifiable results, which the district will only pay for when results are delivered. Together, with the St. Johns River Water Management District, we look forward to preventing future algae growth and improving overall water quality at Lake Apopka and downstream water bodies.”

This project uses a new, non-traditional treatment technology that focuses on removing phosphorus directly from the water. Reducing phosphorus will improve water quality by reducing algal abundance. Downstream water bodies, including lakes Beauclair and Dora, will also benefit.

As a pay-for-performance project, the district will only pay for phosphorus removed. The total project budget for the first year is $1.16 million (about $115 per pound of phosphorus removed).

Construction is underway and the project will begin treating water this spring. 

St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the district and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The district encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville, and Palm Bay.

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