State to spend $300K on Fanning experiment

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

State officials are banking on untested technology to help reduce nitrate pollution in Fanning Springs.

The Suwannee River Water Management District governing board voted unanimously Thursday at a meeting in Cedar Key to approve spending $300,000 in state money on two vibrating screens to remove solids in wastewater from an unidentified dairy located in the springshed, as well as a station to control the operation and the retrofitting of 11 center pivot sprayers on the farm. 

According to a district report, the project is estimated to be able to reduce nutrient loading into groundwater by about 100,000 pounds per year, which, if accurate, could be good news for Fanning Springs, the most nutrient-polluted spring monitored by the state.

Fanning Springs, when tested, regularly reaches levels higher than the state-mandated standard of .35 milligrams per liter for nitrates, as evident by the profuse growth of algae in the spring and related die-off of aquatic vegetation. In fact, levels are, on average, about halfway toward what state agencies say is unsafe for humans to drink.

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