Skip to content

Water Quality in Southwest Florida Gets Major Boost with $125 Million in State Funding

The funding will help improve wastewater infrastructure and preserve the Caloosahatchee and Indian River Lagoon Basins.

Text the word 'Florida' to (813) 733-5278 to receive more updates straight to your phone on whats going on in the Sunshine State.

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA — The water quality improvements are on the horizon in Southwest Florida thanks to a new bill passed during the 2023 legislative session.

HB 1379 secured $125 million in state funding that will go toward improving water infrastructure in the Caloosahatchee and Indian River Lagoon Basins. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on May 31.

Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Myers) joined other community leaders at Riverside Community Center on June 26 to celebrate the historic investment.

Persons-Mulicka said the restoration efforts “will have a meaningful impact on protecting our water resources in the future.”

“The quality of our water resources contributes to our quality of life in so many ways,” she stated in a press release. “It nourishes our bodies, grows our plants and animals, adds to the beauty of our landscape and supports the entire ecosystem. But aging infrastructure has allowed waste to reach our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans.”

The new law also prohibits the installation of new septic tanks, which contribute nutrient-laden waste into surrounding soils that eventually reach surface waters. This kind of poor sewage can cause serious contamination or pollution issues, posing a threat to the health of nearby residents and the environment.

“Water quality is crucial to southwest Florida ecosystems,” said Dr. Brandon Shuler, Executive Director of the American Water Security Project. “Forensic research shows that septic tanks are contributing significantly to the challenges that plague our waterways, and the policies advanced this session and investments made in septic-to-sewer conversions will help guard against water quality challenges like red tide and harmful algae blooms.”

Shuler heads the national coalition in advocating for wastewater infrastructure upgrades to protect waters and water bodies across America.

“It’s not just the fish and wildlife and surrounding environment, but it’s also the communities that make a living through fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism,” Shuler, who lives in the Tampa area, added. “The red tide and blue-green algae fed by sewage is taking a toll on all of us.”