The longest river in Florida, the St. Johns River, is 310 miles long and flows north. Named one of 14 American Heritage Rivers, the St. Johns is now one of the top 6 endangered rivers in the US. Over the past 100 years, the St. Johns has been damaged by a wide variety of pollutants. Annually, the equivalent of 500 dump trucks, 32 million pounds of nutrient pollution, pours into the St. Johns2. Sanford pumps 1 million gallons of wastewater into the river daily, which includes metals like chromium, lead and arsenic1.
Industry, wastewater plants, agriculture and consumers have all played a role in the damage to the St. Johns. Right now, the Georgia-Pacific paper company wants to build a pipe to pump its polluted wastewater directly into the St. Johns River.3
In 2007, Mayor John Payton formed the River Accord, a 10-year, $700 million plan to improve the Lower St. Johns River Basin. The City of Jacksonville, the St. Johns River Water Management District , the JEA, the Water Sewer Expansion Authority and the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection are all members. They plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen discharged into the river by:
- closing & improving existing wastewater treatment plants
- building new pipelines to reuse treated wastewater for lawns, parks, & golf courses
- eradicating failing septic tanks; capturing & treating stormwater before it enters the river. 4
To find out how you can help the St. Johns River, participate in local clean-up drives and click on What You Can Do.