A recent study by Florida Atlantic University points to aging septic tanks as a leading cause of pollution in the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary.
On Wednesday, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released the fifth installment of a water education series, touting the new study.
Dr. Brian Lapointe, a professor with the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, produced the research. Lapointe and Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson debuted the video in the Senate Office Building.
Joining the two were legislators from the algae-afflicted areas, including Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Reps. Gayle Harrel, Larry Lee Jr., Thad Altman and Randy Fine.
Harrel, a Stuart Republican, and Mayfield, a Melbourne Republican, are advancing policies that will address the issues unearthed by the study. Harrel recently introduced HB 339, something she describes as “Legacy 2.0” because it seeks to set aside 7.6 percent of Amendment 1 funding each year to convert septic tanks to sewers. Mayfield introduced an accompanying bill in the Senate, SB 786.
Wilson said anticipated population growth led the Chamber to make Florida water quality a priority.
“If you think about Florida’s future,” Wilson said, “here’s what we know: more people are going to need more water.”
The fact that Florida is adding 1,000 people each day, he continued, means an additional 6 million people will be living in Florida by 2030.
“So, water matters,” Wilson said.