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Weeki Wachee Springs BMAP, 2024 update

When DEP released its updates to Springs BMAPs in 2024, the Florida Springs Council dug into the updated data to answer three questions:

1. Where is the nitrogen pollution coming from for this springshed?

2. What is the difference in pollution levels in this springshed since the 2018 BMAPs were adopted?

3. How is it going? That is, has this BMAP been successful so far, and where has the 2018 BMAP put this springshed on its path to restoration?


 

Sources of Nitrogen Pollution in Weeki Wachee Springs


The largest share of nitrogen loading to Weeki Wachee, just over 46%, comes from septic tanks.

OSTDS = Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems - septic tanks

WWTF = Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Atmo. Dep. = Atmospheric Deposition. This comes from the air or rainfall and is not a source that can be reduced.


Agricultural sources (livestock, dairies, farm fertilizers, nurseries) are in shades of green.

Development/urban sources (urban and sports fertilizers wastewater and septics) are in shades of yellow and orange.

 

The difference in pollution levels and required reductions since the 2018 BMAPs were adopted


Pounds per year of nitrogen at the spring vents - data are based on DEP's actual measurements.

 

How is it going?


The first black dot at 2018 is based on actual data, how much pollution was measured at the spring vent when the 2018 BMAP went into effect.


The next two dots show how things are going right now.

  • The white dot at 2023 shows where the 2018 BMAP should have gotten us. The white line shows the pollution level goals established by the 2018 BMAP, with reductions in nitrogen levels over the next 20 years to reach water quality goals in 2038.

  • The black dot shows where pollution levels actually are. For Weeki Wachee, total pounds of nitrogen measured at the spring vent has increased rather than decreasing since the BMAP was put into place.


The new goal for 2028 is a higher amount of pollution than the goal originally put in place for 2023.

TMDL = Total Maximum Daily Load. That is the water water quality goal - the level of nitrogen coming from the spring vent at which the spring system will no longer experience ecological harm.


Why is the TMDL, or water quality goal, set higher for 2024? Increased rainfall/increased flow since the 2018 BMAPs means that more total pounds of nitrogen can be measured at the spring vent while the overall concentration in the water remains the same.


 

This 90 second video will walk you through the graphs for Weeki Wachee Springs.



 

For a deeper understanding, watch Executive Director Ryan Smart explain this analysis in a one-hour "Springs BMAPs - Live Discussion" video, found at floridaspringscouncil.org/springsbmaps 


Questions about these graphs and the Springs BMAP update process? Email smart@floridaspringscouncil.org 

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