WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — The city of Winter Springs has had its share of water issues — from a yellowish-colored water coming from faucets, wastewater plant issues, fire hydrant maintenance and failing lift stations.

But city officials say they now have goals and timelines in place to improve needed infrastructure.

What You Need To Know

  •  Winter Springs officials say the city is looking into operating own wastewater plant in the coming years

  •  A new wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to break ground in 2025 costing over $100 million

  •  Fire Hydrant maintenance in the city is expected to be completed in next 120 days

Twenty-five years ago, Art Gallo bought a piece of land in Winter Springs because he wanted to be near work and someone told to him how good the Seminole County Public Schools district was.

Now, he still calls that piece of land with his house now on it, home. Gallo said it wasn’t until 2019, though, that he started to attend City Commission meetings and learn about some of the city’s water issues.

“I am concerned, as a resident,” Gallo said. “I don’t want any of my neighbors, or people who live in Winter Springs, to have to deal with wastewater problems or fire hydrant problems.”

Over the years as Gallo attended more meetings, and he also started to review previous commission meeting minutes. In 2009 the city’s then-public works director, Kipton Lockcuff, predicted that the city’s wastewater treatment plant would have to be replaced “in the next five, 10 years.”

Gallo said no one at that meeting asked any follow-up questions.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Gallo said comments on the water treatment plant were presented again at a commission meeting to address repairs.

Current Mayor Kevin McCann, who has been in office for three years, said efforts to decrease taxes on residents played a part in the treatment plant’s neglect.

“There was a drive to push down taxes, lower millage rates,” he said. “It left not acknowledging to deal with the structural issues the city was facing.”

The wastewater plant is one of those items that ultimately got kicked down the road.

“Wastewater infrastructure is in dire need of replacement,” McCann said. “(It) needs to be replaced as soon as possible.”

The city’s more than 50-year-old tanks were purchased used in the 1980sThe city will break ground in 2025 on a new wastewater treatment plant.

As for yellowish water coming out of faucets and laundry machines at some homes during fire hydrant maintenance, first-year Winter Springs utilities director Bilal Iftikhar said buildup in the lines was to blame.

“When you open up a fire hydrant, the lines get shook up a little bit and there is a certain buildup in the lines already,” Iftikhar said. “Iron, sulfites, a certain amount of buildup already, that is what creates the yellowish water.”

Iftikhar said that while the water was safe to drink, he hasn’t been able to determine when proper maintenance was last done.

Since this discovery the city has approved a $150,000 contract with Hydromax, which plans to have all 1,200 city fire hydrants inspected and maintained with in 120 days.

According to Iftikahar, the city has about 60 lift stations, and most are in good condition. There are a couple, including one on Winter Springs Boulevard, though, that the city is hoping to address.

“There are a few on a list where we have applied for different grants,” Iftikhar said. “We are looking at some type of funding to improve our lift stations.”

City officials say they anticipate all of their major infrastructure issues to be completed or improved by 2030.