New wastewater plant protects pristine ecosystem

Author: Sommer Senne
Published: Updated:

A new wastewater treatment facility just opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It promises to solve the community’s long-standing sewage problems.

This project aims to protect both residents and the environment from potential health risks.

A ribbon cutting for a wastewater treatment facility may seem a little odd.

“It’s not a sexy thing to do a groundbreaking to a waste plant, right?” said Mario Diaz-Balart, representative for FL-26.

But Diaz-Balart and others fought to make this new wastewater plant a reality for the community and tourists alike.

“We’ve seen the damage that this plant not working has caused over the years,” Diaz Balart said.

Damage like the sewers bubbling up and possibly failing every time it rained in areas like Big Cypress Preserve and Everglades National Park, which was unacceptable for Florida Senate president Kathleen Passidomo.

“We thought at some point, it might explode, what would happen, we would have had sewage spilling into these pristine waters, which is unthinkable,” Passidomo said.

“Without this, you’re dealing with potential environmental issues. You’re dealing with potential health risk issues, as well,” Diaz-Balart said.

Local, state and national leaders worked together to secure $6.5 million to help the plant reach its current state.

Commissioner Bill McDaniel told us it was worth the eight-year wait for a community that sees more than 750,000 visitors a year.

“Infrastructure provides for tourism, provides for all of the businesses and the economic sustainability of any community,” McDaniel said.

“Make sure that we preserve Everglades National Park, Big Cypress 10,000 islands because it’s all connected. It’s one ecosystem,” Diaz-Balart said.

That connected ecosystem will now be cleaner because of Everglades City’s vision. The wastewater plant is just the first step in Everglades City’s growth.

Officials hope to transition other surrounding communities that are still on septic and well systems to sewer systems that will connect to the Everglades City plant.

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