With its huge manufacturing facility located near a watershed that feeds a natural spring at DeLeon Springs State Park, defense contractor Sparton has taken a giant step toward helping to preserve that delicate natural resource.
The longtime neighbor of the state park recently completed an overhaul of its wastewater-treatment plant, helped in large part by a grant of up to $500,000 from Volusia County, according to a county news release.
The grant money will reimburse Sparton for the documented costs of the work at its headquarters at 5612 Johnson Lake Road, less any federal or state environmental grants Sparton may receive, according to county documents. The total cost of the work was not announced.
Sparton is the first recipient of the water-quality-infrastructure grant program the County Council established in 2018. The program provides financial assistance to military contractors and aerospace companies to help them pay for needed improvements to wastewater systems that serve their businesses and are located in environmentally sensitive areas, such as springsheds or coastal estuaries, the county news release says.
The new wastewater-treatment plant not only expands capacity, but it is significantly reducing nitrogen discharge and serving as an added environmental protection for the DeLeon Springs springshed.
The treatment system’s recent completion was a double cause for celebration, having come right after Sparton’s announcement that it had relocated its corporate headquarters from the Chicago area to DeLeon Springs.
Bill Toti, Sparton’s president and CEO, said in the news release that the business culture in Volusia County and the support from the county government had everything to do with the decision.
“We did that because of the wonderful business environment in Volusia County,” Toti said. “The people here in Volusia County are fantastic. We have just under 600 patriot employees that we’re just so thrilled with, and we love it here.”
For businesses that meet the program’s eligibility criteria, the goal of the grant program is to provide them with incentives to locate, grow and prosper here, while at the same time helping those businesses to operate in harmony with Volusia County’s natural environment, according to the news release.
Sparton met the program’s eligibility requirements because a major chunk of its business is manufacturing undersea sonobuoy detection devices for the U.S. military.
Rick Karl, the county’s director of aviation and economic resources, said supporting the business community is why the grant program was established in the first place.
“Sparton is a tremendous asset in our community,” Karl said in the release. “Recognizing the importance of our existing businesses, understanding their needs, and partnering to help them grow within our community is exactly what the Volusia County Economic Development’s business retention and expansion program is all about.”