Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Sulphur Spring
Hillsborough County

Summary of Features
Scale—2nd magnitude 
Scenery—blighted urban area, near dog track and housing projects 
How Pristine?—dangerously polluted, pool encircled in concrete with spillway, adjacent to municipal pool and developed areas
Swimming—not allowed because of pollution
Protection—restoration efforts being considered 
Crowds—none at spring, can be heavy at adjacent pool
Access—excellent

Boil in spring pool
Waterfall out of spring enclosure
 
Spring run
Fish "nests" in run
Spring fountain house where people got water from spring
Park sign misspelling name of spring
Photo taken before restoration efforts

Directions
The spring is located about 1/8 mile east of Interstate 75 where it crosses the Hillsborough River. From I-75, exit onto Bird Street and go one block east (in front of dog track) to U.S. 41 (Nebraska Avenue). Go right or south on U.S. 41 just past dog track to the spring on the right just before the Hillsborough River.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring is encircled in concrete and about 50 feet in diameter. The pool was fenced off when visited in 2000, but previously was fairly clear and about 30 feet deep. Flow from the limestone openings creates large slicks on the surface of the pool. Water in the spring has a sulfurous odor. Water exits the concrete enclosure over two spillways and into a shallow and sandy run of about 200 yards to the Hillsborough River. Large fish may be seen in the run. There is a concrete retaining wall along part of the run outside the pool and a sidewalk around the pool. A pumphouse is next to the pool. About 100 yards west of the spring is a domed structure that for years pumped water from the spring into a small drinking fountain.

The spring is in a densely developed area of homes, businesses, and highways. An historic domed structure is just north of the spring. Water from the spring was pumped to a fountain in the building, and people could drink and collect water from the fountain. It is current closed, and water is no longer pumped to this structure.

According to Dumeyer (in Abstracts of . . . 2003), the spring's

tributary area contains numerous sinkholes, many of which are used as urban stormwater drains because the area has no natural surface drainage to the [Hillsborough] river. The only natural surface channel is Curiosity Creek which drains 3.5 miles of the NW part of the area and originally flowed into Blue Sink, a swallet, where the surface flow entered the solution channels to Sulphur Springs. Blue Sink became plugged in 1974 and the surface waters now have to be pumped to the river. In addition to the creek, Blue Sink was also fed by Ewanowski Spring, a third magniude spring located 300 feet to the NW of Blue Sink. The plugging raised local water levels by 7-8 feet and blocked the flow from the spring. Initial pump testing showed that Ewanowski Spring could yield about 6 cfs if the Blue Sink water level was lowered to the original level. The Sulphur Springs flow recored show a subsequent decline after Blue Sink was plugged (p. 13).
An investigation is being made to see if Blue Spring can be unplugged to help restore the historic flow of Sulphur Springs. The partners in this research are the Tampa Water Departemnt, the Hillsborough River Basin Board, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Abstracts of . . . 2003).

Florida’s Springs: Strategies for Protection and Restoration (Hartnett, 2000), records that Sulphur Spring suffers from high levels of coliform bacteria (perhaps from septic and local sewage system intrusion), nitrate levels as high as 0.89 mg per liter from stormwater runoff, reduced flow due to the filling of sinkholes that fed the spring, and increased levels of sodium in the springflow (p. 19).

Use/Access

Local Springiana Personal Impressions Nearby Springs
Eureka Springs
Lithia Spring
Phillipe Spring
Wall Spring
Espiritu Santo Springs
Indian Spring
Salt Spring
Tarpon Spring
Crystal Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features
Hillsborough River State Park
Little Manatee State Recreation Area
Fort DeSoto Park
Egmont Key State Park
Caladesi Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park