DEFUNIAK SPRINGS Fla. (WMBB) — The population continues to skyrocket in Walton County but officials recognize an issue that could slow down growth, inadequate sewer, and water services.

Sewer and water issues are more specifically within the cities of Freeport and DeFuniak Springs.

“This area of Highway 331 has been an economic desert,” said Economic Development Alliance Director Bill Imfeld.

 More families are moving and calling Walton County home, but water resources are limited.

“It’s the place where I want to live, Walton County,” said County Commission Chair Trey Nick.

Officials recognize, current and future neighborhoods near Highway 331 have inadequate sewer and water services.

“Especially at the new Veteran’s Lodge area, the Bay Springs area, and our new industrial park right down here, which is the Woodlawn Industrial park,” said Imfeld.

Imfeld, county board members, and DeFuniak Springs city officials partnered together to update water and sewer lines.

“This $4.7 million project which was a combination of triumph money and Restore Act money is going to enable all kinds of growth along this area,” said Imfeld.

The project began Tuesday, September 21, already allowing for an increase in job opportunities.

“We are providing job opportunities for people here, for people moving in here, and for the students coming through our school system to get training at some of these facilities,” said Imfeld.

Nick said along Highway 331 in Freeport is the next hot area.

“The water and sewer project, that’s the first step in cleaning the area up and making sure everything goes in the right direction,” said Chairman Nick.

In about a year, the sewer line project along running about four miles will be complete. Year after year, Nick and Imfeld hope for continued growth and prosperity.

“And more importantly the ability to develop all along 331,” said Imfeld.