A Water Drop's Journey 
Drops of water fall from the sky and impact my front lawn located on Silver Birch Place in Longwood, Florida. Most drops are used by the plants for transpiration and photosynthesis. 
However, a few drops will undertake an incredible 180 mile journey. These droplets will accumulate with others and migrate either above ground as surface flow, underground through the soils, or through storm drain passageways to Soldiers Creek, only about 200 yards away. Although the droplets are themselves collections of chemically bonded hydrogen and oxygen atoms, they have already picked up a threatening passenger. Nutrients from lawn fertilizers (primarily nitrogen and phosphorous), pesticides, and other encountered pollutants have dissolved into the pristine droplets that once fell from the sky. From the creek, the collective mass of water along with its harmful passengers move along nearly 3 miles to Lake Jesup. The water, now part of the St. John’s River Basin will flow northward through a series of lakes and meandering river channels 177 additional miles and exit into the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville, Florida.

The excess nutrients and pollutants in the water is causing concern for the St. John’s River System. Its channels and lakes undergo periodic algae blooms. These blooms keep sunlight from reaching river and lake bottoms preventing native plants the opportunity to produce oxygen. The now oxygen deficient and polluted water system provides a cascading chain a successive negative impacts on plant life, animal life, and water quality for the St. Johns river system.

There is hope in the form of proper water resource management. For example, one-half mile into the water’s journey starting from my front lawn, a special retention pond facility is currently being constructed. 

Water from Soldiers Creek will be diverted through this facility where it will be mixed with aluminum sulfate. Aluminum sulfate is a flocculating agent, helping water impurities coagulate into larger particles and settle to the bottom of the retention pond. Periodically, the material will be removed from the bottom of the retention pond and then sent to a water treatment facility for proper disposal.

Efforts educating the public about water runoff issues, promoting cleanup opportunities, and providing legislative protection, offer additional ways to insure the health of the St. Johns River System.