Chamber-Promoted Study Links Algal Blooms to Septic Tanks


Watch Video   Visit Our Water Solutions Page


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.


Click here to read the complete article at Florida Politics.

Florida Chamber Release First in Series of Educational Water Videos Featuring FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2016) – As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released the first in 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.

Securing Florida’s Water Future: Indian River Lagoon


Together, with FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, this series of educational videos focuses on science-based water quality solutions– starting first with the Indian River Lagoon.

“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “With six million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based data is key to meeting the challenges Florida faces.”

The video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: Indian River Lagoon, features the following water and environmental leaders:

  • Clay Henderson, Executive Director, Stetson University Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience
  • Dan Pennington, Planning Analyst, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Todd Kincaid, PH.D., Hydrogeologist, GeoHydros
  • Donna Rhoden, Public Information Manager, Port St. Lucie Utility
  • Nat Reed, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks
  • Doug Smith, Commissioner, District One, Martin County

“I’ve spent decades studying water quality throughout Florida, including nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms,” said Dr. Brian Lapointe, FAU-Harbor Branch Research Professor. “This project with the Florida Chamber allows me and my colleagues an opportunity to share this research so the public can better understand how human activities are impacting Florida’s water resources.”

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. Water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps should to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution, a point Dr. Lapointe stresses in a Bottom Line interview with the Florida Chamber.

For more information, yisit the Florida Chamber’s water solutions page.


Dr. Brian Lapointe Stresses Scientific Approach to Water Issues

“To secure Florida’s future, we really have to follow science; science has to lead the way.”

Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor, Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Dr. Brian Lapointe is partnering with the Florida Chamber as part of its ongoing educational efforts to help secure Florida’s water future.

“I’ve been studying issues surrounding marine pollution and various land-based sources that contribute to the problems we’re seeing around the state,” said Dr. Lapointe. “This is a whole new paragon shift for me, to take what I’ve learned over 30 years and educate the public about these issues, and they’re big issues.”

Dr. Lapointe says that many of the main sources of pollution are not realized by the public. For example, Dr. Lapointe identifies septic tanks as being a major source of pollution in Florida that people do not recognize as harmful.

“We have so many opinions around the state as to the various factors that may be causing things like the brown tide in the Indian River Lagoon, or the problems were seeing in the St. Lucie estuary or Florida Bay,” said Dr. Lapointe. “But, it really comes back to not using political or expedient solutions to these problems, which can often times make the problems worse. It is really looking at cause and effect and we really need to use the best science available to find out the causes of these problems.”

The campaign to educate Floridians on Florida water resources and issues, led by the Florida Chamber, FAU Harbor Branch, and Dr. Lapointe, places importance on finding a science-based set of solutions to water quality issues.

“A big issue for Florida is protecting the quality of our water because we have very sensitive resources here that are the attraction for tourists,” said Dr. Lapointe. “The Indian River lagoon… this is a place, clearly, that is being impacted by pollution from the water shed that, obviously, we need to get that system in recovery and use science to do it to protect the economic well being of that region.”

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. As Dr. Lapointe mentions, water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps need to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution.

 “These things are all doable if we use science to lead the way,” said Dr. Lapointe.