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Contact: Media contact: Allyson Gantt, 786-610-8023
Contact: Project information: Daniel Noon, 305-242-7717
The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public input on a project to rehabilitate select water and wastewater systems within Everglades National Park (EVER). The proposed project focuses on improving and/or replacing multiple potable water treatment and distribution systems and wastewater collection and treatment systems at key areas throughout the park. The NPS will be hosting public meetings and inviting public comment on this project from Feb. 13 to March 20.
“These improvements to the park’s water and wastewater systems are crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of park visitors and concessioners, while protecting the unique ecosystems of the park,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks. “Without these improvements, the next hurricane event could significantly diminish the infrastructure for these systems.”
The project is supported by The National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act to reduce the maintenance backlog on Federal lands. The public can view a project newsletter, story map and meeting notices and submit written comments on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/WaterSystems.
The updates to the water and wastewater systems are aimed to improve efficiency and operations, provide more resiliency to the impacts of climate change and maximize the lifecycle of these systems. This project would sustain the park’s current infrastructure and is not an expansion of infrastructure. In addition, this project would support concessioners who operate facilities in the park and enhance the long-term viability of the concession services.
The affected areas include: two sites in the Shark Valley area, three sites in the Loop Road area, six sites in the Main Entrance/Royal Palm area and four sites in the Flamingo area. The current infrastructure is outdated and in need of repair and upgrade. The existing systems are critically deficient and expensive to maintain. Many are only partially operable or at the end of their service life. Additionally, infrastructure located near the ocean can corrode or deteriorate due to saltwater, high UV index and high temperatures. NPS will host two public meetings to discuss the project in more detail with members of the community:
- In-person on March 7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. EST at the William F. Dickinson Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Avenue, Homestead, FL.
- Online March 8 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST using this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89906565739
As required by the National Environmental Policy Act, an environmental assessment (EA) will be performed prior to the final design to evaluate the likely environmental consequences resulting from a proposed action. The EA is expected to be released in Fall 2023. The public is encouraged to attend either of the public meetings and voice their comments or concerns about the project or elements they believe should be addressed in the EA.
Last updated: February 15, 2023