AVOID RECREATIONAL USE ON UPPER SANTA FE RIVER
The public is strongly urged to temporarily avoid swimming, tubing, canoeing or kayaking in the portion of the upper Santa Fe River bordering northwest Alachua County west of Interstate 75 due to dangerous water conditions.
Strong currents, and submerged trees and other debris that can cause entrapment, serious injury, or drowning are among the hazards posed by recent tropical storm rains, according to the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department. In addition, the river's high flow conditions, combined with low groundwater levels from the drought, are creating powerful, hidden siphons that can drown even a strong swimmer by pulling them through hidden underwater cavities in the bottom of the river.
These unusually dangerous conditions are expected to persist for 7-10 days until the river levels are projected to subside. For more information, contact Chris Bird at 352-264-6801.
NO-WAKE AND BOATING ADVISORIES
A 32-mile segment of the Santa Fe River has been declared an idle-speed, no-wake zone by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Boating restrictions along Zone 5, which runs from River Rise in O'Leno State Park, west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, mean a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than that required to maintain steerage and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly that the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.
FWC officers will patrol this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake zone is enforced. The idle-speed, no-wake zone remains in effect until the water level recedes below 17 feet. No-wake zones on other stretches of the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers could be activated as conditions warrant.
REGARDING SEPTIC TANKS AND PUMPING WATER FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY
Residents are strongly urged to avoid pumping or trenching any water from their property to property of adjacent landowners. Such action will likely result in new or additional damage to neighbors’ homes and property. If you have questions about the pumping issue, call your public works department.
Also, this is not a good time to pump out septic tanks. After pumping, your septic tank will fill back up with water in the ground through drain fields. Older septic tanks may collapse because of the pressure on the walls from the abundance of water, or even pop-up out of the ground. If you call an area company about pumping, be sure to address the issues outlined above before having the work done. Responsible companies will advise you to wait until the area-wide flooding subsides. For additional information on pumping or if you suspect potential contamination of your well for drinking purposes, contact your county health department.
County health departments are concerned about potential well contamination and safe water issues. If your well has been covered at any time by flood waters, you are urged to either use bottled water or boil the water you use at home. Bring the water to a boil and let it roll for at least one minute. If you’d like your well water tested to determine if it is safe to use, contact your county health department.