ICYMI: Water Quality Issues Highlight Need to Address Local Water Pollution

By: Edie Ousley

It’s poopy water, not sharks, that’s attacking Florida’s beaches.” (Palm Beach Post)

TALLAHASSEE, FL (August 16, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce, as part of its ongoing environmental stewardship efforts to help secure Florida’s water future, is highlighting the importance of addressing local water quality concerns.

“With 4.5 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, and 50 million more visitors expected each year – on top of the 124.6 million that visited last year – ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve is vital,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Yet news headlines across the country are showing parts of Florida at its worse – sewage contaminants posing health risks in local communities.

ICYMI: Here’s a snapshot of recent news highlighting Florida’s need to take action on human contaminants – sewage that often comes from faulty septic tanks and wastewater treatment plants.

  • “There’s ‘poop in the water’ at America’s dirtiest beaches…” and five of them are in Florida. (USA Today
  • “So even though you don’t have pipes that directly connect your toilet with your refrigerator, pollution and inadequate sewage systems and waste disposal may in effect be doing so….It’s time to take water pollution more seriously and stop treating our bodies of water like giant toilet bowls.”  The report found that 180 of the 263 beaches tested in Florida “had potentially unsafe levels of fecal contamination on at least a day.” (Forbes)
  • “Safe swimming is out of the question in four Florida waterways because the Department of Health says there is too much poop in them.” (Miami Herald)
  • “In Miami-Dade alone, we’ve had several alerts of high levels of fecal matter — better known as poop — in some of the most popular beaches: Crandon Park, South Beach, and… Bal Harbour and Haulover.” (Miami Herald)
  • With five months to go in 2019, Florida is looking to set a disgusting new record. We’re spilling more sewage, and it’s even worse than it sounds. Tampa Bay alone has already dumped 6.5 times more sewage in 2019 than in all of 2018, almost 400,000 gallons of poop so far. (Orlando Weekly)
  • It’s poopy water, not sharks, that’s attacking Florida’s beaches. (Palm Beach Post)
  • Please stop pooping on the spoil islands in the Indian River Lagoon, FDEP asks. (TC Palm)
  • Sarasota beach issues ‘No Swim Advisory’ after high levels of poop detected. (Creative Loafing Tampa Bay)

The Florida Chamber has long advocated for long-term sustainable water and environmental policies, and since March 2016, has championed an educational partnership with Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

Dr. Lapointe has extensive experience in water quality research in South Florida and the Caribbean region. His research has led to greater nutrient removal from sewage effluents in Monroe County, his long-term water quality monitoring at Looe Key reef in the Florida Keys represents the longest low-level nutrient record for a coral reef anywhere in the world.

Securing Florida’s Water Future is a series of educational videos solely focused on ensuring Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve. Educational videos have focused on Indian River Lagoon, the Florida Keys, Southwest Florida, Florida’s Springs, the St. Lucie Estuary, the Kissimmee River, Caloosahatchee, and more. The latest education video highlights water north of Lake Okeechobee.

For more information, please visit Securing Florida’s Water Future online.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.