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Plan to improve water quality in NW spreader OK’d

By Staff | Jul 26, 2011

Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved a plan for water quality improvement in the North Spreader Canal and Matlacha Pass, the majority of which was previously identified during the Ecosystem Management Agreement process.
That plan was eventually rejected by a majority of stakeholders during that process.
The city of Cape Coral was then forced to submit an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to rebuild the Ceitus Barrier, but that application was eventually denied by the state, leaving the situation in limbo.
The projects identified in the city’s plan include stormwater treatment improvements, maintaining a dredging profile and revising seawall engineering standards, among others.
The city is prepared to spend nearly $3.9 million on those projects, having re-designated stormwater utility funds for “Northwest Drainage Improvements.”
The city maintains that water quality in the canal is not only healthy, but that it exceeds both state standards and the water quality in Matlacha Pass.
“The water quality in the canals as it compares to water quality in Matlacha pass … shows us there isn’t a problem with the septic systems up there,” said Oliver Clarke, city engineer.
City Business Manager Mike Ilzyszyn said the city can fund the projects and they are moving forward.
“We are committing the funds to those projects this year — this shows the city of Cape Coral is serious about this,” he said.
The city is going to submit the plan to DEP but the agency doesn’t have to approve its use or implementation in total. Clarke added the city would be required to seek permitting for some aspects of the plan, but he does not anticipate negative reaction of any kind.
“We’re submitting the plan to show our dedication to the things we said were important all along,” Clarke added.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said previous timelines for projects as outlined during the EMA process were not realistic — including bringing city water and sewer to the northwest — and the work done by Clarke and City Manager Gary King thus far has been excellent.
“Because we didn’t take the initial procedure and accept it, a lot of good questions were asked and a lot of good work was done,” Chulakes-Leetz said.