Site work begins for Everglades water treatment project

April 30, 2020 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Site work has started on a project meant to purify water in the Florida Everglades, state officials announced Thursday.

The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project recently received the required federal permit, according to a news release from Gov. Ron DeSantis. The South Florida Water Management District is now working on the project site for a 6,500-acre stormwater treatment wetland south of Lake Okeechobee.

DeSantis announced that he was making the environment one of his top priorities after taking office in January 2019. He signed on executive order on his second day in office to expedite the EAA Reservoir Project.

“Today marks a critical milestone for Everglades restoration and achieving our state’s long-term environmental goals,” DeSantis said in a statement. “When I took office, I made expediting the EAA Reservoir Project a top priority. Beginning construction means we are a big step closer to moving more clean water south to the Everglades and lessening harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.”

The South Florida Water Management District has executed a $1.3 million contract for this first phase of the project’s stormwater treatment area. The entire project is expected to cost more than $1.8 billion. After the initial site preparation, the district will begin construction of canals and berms.