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District provides assistance to Gulf County for water system upgrades

HAVANA – The Northwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board approved an agreement to help Gulf County make upgrades to its potable water system.

The District will provide up to $300,000 in grant funding for improvements to the former Lighthouse Utilities water system, which services approximately 13 square miles in the unincorporated southern portion of Gulf County. Included in the service area is St. Joseph Peninsula, Jones Homestead, Indian Pass, and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

“Having a safe and reliable source of clean water for the residents in Gulf County is absolutely essential, and we are happy to be part of this effort,” said State Sen. Loranne Ausley, who represents Gulf County. “This grant will help achieve this critical need for an area still feeling the impacts from Hurricane Michael. I appreciate the hard work of local leaders and the water management district to collaborate and fund this project.”

The system currently experiences persistent low water pressure in the northern portion of the peninsula. One of the utility’s two water treatment plants was badly damaged by Hurricane Michael, causing a booster plant and storage tank serving the peninsula to be taken offline and significantly exacerbating the problem.

“The damage caused by Hurricane Michael is still being felt by so many in our communities,” said State Rep. Jason Shoaf, who represents Gulf County. “I appreciate the water management district and its Governing Board for helping Gulf County take another step forward in its long-term recovery efforts.”

The county recently completed a preliminary engineering report, which recommended installing an in-line booster pumping station, as well as a ground storage tank control valve, diesel generator and automatic transfer switch, and other associated repairs and improvements.

The overall probable cost of the improvements, including engineering and construction, is estimated at approximately $690,000.

“For smaller communities like Gulf County, which are still feeling the financial impact of Hurricane Michael, the cost of repairing damaged infrastructure is significant,” said George Roberts, Chairman of the District’s Governing Board. “That’s why it is so important the District continues to work with our local communities to fund these types of projects that make such a positive impact.”