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Waldo is looking for sewer and water system solutions after a second grant denial

Construction workers drill a well in Alachua County.
Employees of the St. Johns River Water Management District work to plug a free-flowing well. (Sydney Dotson/WUFT News)

In September of last year, the city of Waldo applied for the second round of grant funding from the Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. The grant monies, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, support long-term mitigation efforts. 

But, Waldo failed to receive funding.

The grant consultant for Waldo, Fred Fox, said this is the second grant cycle, and the city has applied twice during this cycle period. Waldo applied with the goal of improving the city’s sewer lines, which includes the rehabilitation of 52 manholes, and revamping its water system, which includes upgrades to the wellfield.

Without the funding needed to fix the sewer lines, Waldo will see increased chances of leakage through the town and potential potholes. If the city cannot upgrade its water system, it risks the chance that the water will become too contaminated to drink and an increased risk of unusable fire hydrants.

“If there’s some reason [the wellfield] should become contaminated or the well goes down, the city would have to work quickly to repair it,” Fox said. “So this is going to add another well to that sand wellfield and add a whole second well site.”

In addition to palatable water, Fox said that this second site would provide water that can be used in case of a fire. He said this is an important factor for the city because most communities want a backup wellfield for redundancy in the water system.

Fox says that fixing the aging sewer line would cost $2.6 million and the 57-year-old water distribution system would cost $8.7 million.

If approved, the process for construction would start by scouting the land and making sure that certain areas will not be negatively affected, which could take up to six months. After the scouting is completed, then designing and construction can begin.

“It’s not just one or two steps,” Fox said. “The engineer would then be turned loose to design the project, and that design would probably take four to six months. Then it would be bid out, with the lowest acceptable bidder being awarded the construction.”

He said that the construction on these projects could take anywhere from one year to 18 months.

Waldo city manager Kim Worley said the city will apply a third time in September of this year. This will be the last time the city is eligible to apply. If Waldo isn’t awarded the grant, Worley says they will continue to apply for monies through different programs, including small ones.

“We’re still looking for grants,” Worley said. “I mean, we’ll try for smaller grants, but these would be phenomenal to get so much fixed.”

Reagan is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing