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Sunday, May 15, 2022

City of Ocala seeks $1.75 million in grant funding for wastewater system improvement project

The City of Ocala is seeking approval of $1.75 million in grant funding for a wastewater system improvement project.

The project would provide sanitary sewer service to all properties within the Meadow Oaks (SW 22nd Street), Southwind (Lake Weir Avenue), and College Heights Park (SW 16th Street/Place) neighborhoods. A majority of the properties located in these neighborhoods are currently using septic tanks to handle the sewage that is generated.

The project aims to reduce the number of septic tanks within the Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs spring sheds by making sanitary sewer service available for hookup. According to city staff, the removal of septic tanks would reduce the infiltration of nitrogen to the aquifer, which would benefit the Silver Springs and Rainbow Springs.

The total cost of the improvement project is $3.5 million. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has agreed to provide the city with 50 percent of the funding, not to exceed $1.75 million.

A proposed grant agreement, between the City of Ocala and the FDEP, will be presented to the Ocala City Council for approval or denial during its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 19. The grant would provide funding in the amount of $1.75 million, and the city would cover the remaining balance.

City staff is recommending approval of the grant agreement and highlighted that the availability of sanitary sewer service would help to eventually remove approximately 165 septic tanks within the two spring sheds.

If the agreement is approved by council members during the upcoming meeting, the city’s engineering department, which designed the project, would manage the bidding and construction, and the water resources department would operate and maintain the proposed infrastructure.

The Ocala City Council meets at 4 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month at Ocala City Hall (110 SE Watula Avenue).