Bay News 9
The state's water administrators are jumping in feet first with a plan to clean out sinkholes
around Hernando County.
Divers hired by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) geared up for their latest
adventure Monday; sinkhole cleaning in Spring Hill's Kass Sink.
Getting wet is the only way to get to the bottom of the job, which is to fish all the garbage out.
For the junk that's been underwater for years, a barrel does the trick.
"Anything that's stuck into the sediment we use the lift barrel; we fill it with air and use
it to pull the material out of the bottom so the diver doesn't have to work so hard on it," said
Paul Overby, the project manager for Dive-Tech.
Overby keeps tabs on his divers and gets reports on what they're finding.
"Okay, I've got numerous tires, shelving, wire shelving, also a number of shopping carts, um,
and a cordless phone," one diver joked.
A bunch of trash emerged with the divers, including a bowling ball. The cleanup effort is all part
of a program by Swiftmud to improve water quality around Hernando County.
Swiftmud environmental scientist Chris Zajac said it's important to keep sinkholes clean. "There's
a proper place to put garbage," Zajac said. "Sinkholes, of course, are not one of those proper
places because the material that we put into the sinkholes can leech into our drinking water."
The divers said they could be there four or five more days before they can completely clear all the junk
out of the sinkhole. After the sinkhole is cleaned out, the garbage will be separated and disposed of.
Swiftmud has set aside $100,000 for the project. The cost to clean out Kass Sinkhole alone will be
approximately $10,000. Eleven sinkholes are scheduled to be cleaned, including some in Citrus County.