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DEP and Plant City commit $700K to restore Hillsborough River basin

Stormwater system improvements reduce pollutants and protect Mill Creek

PLANT CITY – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has partnered with Plant City to commit $700,000 for a restoration project to reduce the pollutants reaching Mill Creek and ultimately the Hillsborough River.

The project includes construction of underground piping that would convey stormwater runoff from the Midtown-area to two ponds for retention and treatment. The plan also includes stormwater-treatment technology upgrades for an existing retention pond at the corner of Hunter and Grant streets. These stormwater system improvements are expected to reduce the nutrient pollutant loading by 64 percent for total phosphorous and 36 percent for total nitrogen.

“We would like to thank Plant City for their interest and their commitment to preserving the natural resources in their community,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Combining resources is one tool we can use to efficiently address water-quality restoration across the state.”

Water that flows off land and into creeks, streams or rivers after a rain is referred to as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff usually contains a number of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a waterbody, the pollutants can cause rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other complications. Retention and treatment of stormwater reduces the negative impact on water quality.

"Plant City is pleased to be a funding partner with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to assist with improving water quality for the Hillsborough River," said Mike Herr, city manager of Plant City.

The Hillsborough River flows 54 miles from its headwaters in the Green Swamp to Hillsborough Bay, Florida’s largest open-water estuary. The river flows through Hillsborough River State Park, one of Florida’s first state parks, which opened in 1938. Hillsborough River was also designated an Outstanding Florida Water by the state of Florida, meaning the river is worthy of special protection because of its natural attributes.