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Protecting Volusia County Springs

Manatees swimming in spring

In 2016, the Florida Legislature identified 30 “Outstanding Florida Springs” that require additional protections to ensure their conservation and restoration for future generations. These protections are outlined in restoration plans, known as Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), focused on reducing nitrogen pollution that is impacting the water quality of these springs. In some areas, effluent water from septic tanks has been identified as a major contributor of nitrogen pollution. Where this occurs, the law requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to include a septic system remediation plan within that springs BMAP. The law requires specific actions regarding both existing and new septic systems located near impacted springs within areas known as Priority Focus Areas (PFAs). Volusia County has 3 outstanding Florida springs, Blue, Gemini, and DeLeon.

DeLeon and Gemini Basin Area Requirements

On January 1, 2019, rules for property owners in the DeLeon Spring and Gemini Spring Basins became effective. The 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act (Chapter 373, Part VIII) requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to do two main things:

  • Adopt recovery and prevention strategies to maintain healthy water levels in the aquifer that feeds the springs; and
  • Develop plans to manage the basin in a manner that ensures pollution is prevented or removed from the system.

FDEP has determined that septic tanks are a major source of nutrient pollution in the springs. Volusia County and other stakeholders are mandated to implement various strategies to reduce total nitrogen levels.

Changes for Septic Tank Owners:

New Septic Tanks (DeLeon Spring and Gemini Springs):

Requirements for new homes or businesses installing new septic systems (or adding rooms on) on lots less than one acre within the Priority Focus Areas (PFAs) have changed. These new systems are required to include enhanced treatment of nitrogen. The installation of nitrogen-reducing systems will not be required if a central sewer connection project is planned by a local government and the project has been included in the remediation plan. For more information, please check with the Volusia County Health Department (386-822-6250) or http://volusia.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/environmental-health/onsite-sewage-disposal/index.html

FDEP Interactive Map showing PFA areas

Existing Septic Tanks (Blue Spring, DeLeon Spring, and Gemini Springs)

For existing systems within the Priority Focus Areas (PFAs), nothing will immediately change. However, in the future, failing systems will need to be enhanced with nitrogen-removing technology or the home/business will need to connect to central sewer. These requirements will be put in place after certain programs are established and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has completed rulemaking for septic systems. For more information, please check with the Volusia County Health Department regarding the FDOH rulemaking (386-822-6250) or http://volusia.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/environmental-health/onsite-sewage-disposal/index.html

These requirements will be phased in no later than five years after the adoption of the restoration plans.

Funding is available for those property owners within the PFAs of Blue, DeLeon, and Gemini springs wishing to voluntarily upgrade their conventional septic system to a higher efficiency nitrogen treatment unit. Cost share information is available at: https://floridadep.gov/springs/restoration-funding/content/septic-upgrade-incentive-program

FDEP Interactive Map showing PFA areas

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Fact Sheets

Frequently Asked Questions on protecting springs and basins

Contact Us

Volusia County Environmental Management
123 West Indiana Ave, Room 202
DeLand, FL 32720

Email: tcarey@volusia.org
Phone: (386) 736-5927
Fax: (386) 740-5193

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Volusia County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Volusia County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.

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123 W. Indiana Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
(386) 736-2700

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