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Water-Related News

U.S. House Rep seeks EPA investigation of Little Wekiva River silting

Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate what has caused the Little Wekiva River to badly silt up in Seminole County.

Murphy sent a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. She requests a federal inquiry similar to a state probe being triggered by a bill pushed through the Legislature this spring by Republican state Sen. Jason Brodeur and Republican state Rep. Keith Truenow. Their effort, which wound up getting approval in Truenow’s HB 727, calls for various state agencies to study the river’s problems.

Now a parallel probe is being sought from federal investigators.

“I respectfully request that the Environmental Protection Agency investigate the surrounding area for potential Clean Water Act violations,” Murphy submitted to Regan.

The Little Wekiva River and its sister waterway the Wekiva River run through western Seminole and Orange counties. Naturalists and kayakers flock to them. The rivers were designated national Wild and Scenic Rivers. They also receive special state protection designated under Florida’s Wekiva Aquatic Preserve.

Yet in the past couple of years, sediments have filled a stretch of the Little Wekiva north of State Road 434. Sediment and invasive plants choke the riverbed. Stretches once four feet deep are reduced to puddles. Blocked runoff swamps surrounding forest. Spreading water threatens nearby homes with flooding.