Bay News 9
Divers eager for help to clean up Weeki Wachee Springs
WEEKI WACHEE —
A proposed plan to clean up Weeki Wachee Springs in Hernando County is still years away from going into place. However, volunteers who dive into the springs each week to clean say they’ll take the state’s help whenever they can get it.
Divers clean up “scrounge” twice a week
Bill passed last year requires preservation plans for all springs by July 2018
County leaders still trying to determine reasonable cost
Weeki Wachee Springs — home to mermaids and now algae. Twice a week, volunteer divers head into the water to clean the windows in the mermaid theater and remove the so-called “scrunge.”
“It actually grows about faster than we can pick it up,” volunteer Jeff Adams said.
“Since we’ve been doing it, the scrunge has gotten heavier and heavier,” volunteer Eric Miller explained.
Many of the volunteer divers have been coming to the springs for years, some ever since they were kids. They told us they would like to see some help to get the springs restored to how they were before.
“One of the things they’re talking about doing is hopefully getting some equipment in here and bring it back to the beach look that it used to be [sic] when I was a child here,” Adams said.
But thanks to a state bill approved last year, that scrunge could soon be gone for good. It requires preservation plans to be produced for all the springs in the state by July 2018.
Last month, the Hernando County environmental services department presented a plan to county commissioners to reduce the amount of nitrogen in the spring that feeds the green algae. To do that, the department suggests re-working the sewer system around the Weeki Wachee area.
County leaders are still trying to determine a reasonable cost for that project.
While the volunteer divers do enjoy getting into the water each week, they are glad to hear help could be on the way.
“The park needs help. For us to go down there and clean it every week, that’s going to be neverending. So they really need to do something about it,” Miller said.
For now, the divers will do their part to beautify the area and give back to their community.
The park will be celebrating its 70th birthday this September.