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Friday, May 02, 2008

Swimmable river will cost $450 million

Published 05/01/2008
Nearly 14,500 tons. Almost 29 million pounds. That’s how much nitrogen and phosphorus is pouring into the lower St. Johns River each year from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff, according to figures from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The pollutants kill fish and other marine animals and vegetation, promote blooms of toxic algae and can even affect the health of people swimming or recreating in the water.

Now, after eight years of work, the DEP is about to finalize a plan requiring at least $450 million in expenditures by Northeast Florida utilities, governments and others to reduce their total nutrient discharge by about 26 percent. Some estimate the true costs at more than $1 billion.

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