Community Member

Milton’s Concerned Citizens

Milton, Florida

Milton, FL has been enduring pollution from its wastewater plant for decades. Wastewater goes through the city’s treatment plant, which removes solids, chemicals and other impurities, leaving effluent that is discharged directly into the Blackwater River, one of the only remaining pristine sand bottom rivers in the U.S. The mission of Milton’s Concerned Citizens is to push for a more sophisticated treatment plant solution, in a different location to keep the Blackwater River safe and provide reusable water for the fastest-growing county in Florida, Santa Rosa. Milton faces two problems. The first is complying with a consent decree by the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection to remove the effluent from the river by 2025, which has been ignored. The second is the location of a new plant that is ill-conceived and puts Cooper’s Basin equally at risk as the Blackwater River.

The Blackwater River, 56+ miles long, flows from southern Alabama to the Florida panhandle and finally into the Gulf of Mexico.

The location of the sewage plant also affects more than the Blackwater by being in a FEMA flood zone. It flooded in Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and again in 2014. Despite the risks and urgency, by early 2024 a former administrator with a criminal record had been reinstated, there were several unfavorable replacements in city council, and it was learned that total city council salaries were more than their budget, likely explaining the lack of sewer funds. Nothing had been done to meet the 2025 deadline to remove effluent. In a move that initially seemed good, the city developed a new sewage disposal plan, but it included an unacceptable storage tank and open storage pond on the slopes of the Blackwater. In a clear step backward, the city proclaimed that the budget would need to be cut. The way forward has been difficult, but Milton’s Concerned Citizens have the support of Milton’s mayor, the Save Blackwater River! organization, and their own 2,000+ members, and they are keeping up the fight.

A group of neighbors hold up signs to save Blackwater River during a visit from Governor Ron DeSantis.

For more information:

Proposed sewer treatment plant near Blackwater River ignites heated debate – WEAR-TV, October 2022

Manatees seen in Blackwater River escalates concern over wastewater treatment facility – WKRG News 5, June 2022

Storms, sturgeons and a cemetery: Why some Milton residents aren’t sold on wastewater site – Pensacola News Journal, February 2022

Citizens Feel Misled Over Wastewater Treatment Plant Near River – South Santa Rosa News, February 2022

Santa Rosa County leaders hear from city, those opposing proposed sewer plant – WEAR-TV, February 2022

Santa Rosa mulling land swap with Milton for portion of capacity at new wastewater plant – Pensacola News Journal, February 2022

Developer offers up own land at last minute for Milton’s new wastewater treatment plant – Pensacola News Journal, May 2021

Photos: Planned Milton wastewater treatment plant sparks concern about environment; cemetery – Pensacola News Journal, April 2021

City of Milton addresses concerns over new wastewater treatment facility – 3WEAR-TV, May 2021

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Pam Mitchell

Social Media

Climate Impacts

Air Pollution, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Heat, Hurricanes/Tropical Storms, Sea Level Rise, Water Contamination, Wildfires


Community Farm/Gardens, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Policy Reform

501c3 Tax Deductible


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