Environmentalists Concerned That Capital Wastes Fouling Spring

Attorney General Charlie Crist wants state regulators to crack down on those responsible for polluting one of Florida's most famous springs, or he might take legal action.

Wakulla Springs, the state's third largest spring, has become more polluted and increasingly dirtied by nutrients. They have damaged water quality and caused an explosion in the growth of hydrilla and algae that have altered the natural ecosystem.

And the problems may be coming from Tallahassee, which sprays up to 20 million gallons a day of nutrient-laden wastewater on a treatment field about ten miles north of the springs.

Crist, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for governor, says he will consider litigation if a solution isn't found.

City officials say they're working on improvements at the wastewater plant that will reduce the amount of nitrogen that may be seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the spring.

However, state lawmakers have yet to take steps to protect more than 700 springs across Florida's landscape. Many suffer from the same problems as Wakulla.