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Florida Struggles to Overcome Threats to Freshwater Springs
Of Florida’s 700 artesian springs, Silver Springs is by far one of the most beautiful. Glass-bottomed boats grew famous as did underwater photography. Tourists arrived in droves to these springs, just outside Ocala.

That was then. Now, except for a few patches, the bottom of Silver Springs and Silver River are no longer visible, covered by invasive weeds coated with algae. The springs scarcely bubble up. Its flow rate has dropped by a third. The current is nearly nonexistent.
Environmental experts say a recent drought in north-central Florida and decades of pumping groundwater out of the aquifer to meet the demands of Florida’s population boom, its sprinklers and its agricultural industry are to blame.

Sudden attention to the distress of Silver Springs is the result of an application for a permit to use 13 million gallons of water a day. The permit is being sought by a Canadian auto parts magnate who is building a 25,000-acre cattle ranch and slaughterhouse.

 
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European Ban on Phosphorus in Household Detergents - Phosphorus leaked into European lakes, streams and rivers leading to eutrophication - the overgrowth of algae which can starve fish and other plant life of oxygen. Phosphorus gets into groundwater mainly from fertilizers or animal and human waste, which is not addressed in the current proposal, but phosphorus does make up 25% of current domestic wastewater.


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