Florida Chamber-Backed Comprehensive Water Bill Signed by Governor

Today, Florida took an important step toward securing Florida’s water future, when Governor Scott signed the Florida Chamber-backed water bill into law. This bi-partisan effort is a step in the right direction to ensure that Florida’s water future doesn’t go the way of California.

The Florida Chamber thanks House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres), Senator Charlie Dean (R-Inverness), Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam as well as Florida Chamber members, local chambers of commerce and members of the Florida Chamber’s water coalition for their help in this success.

 

What Does This Law Mean for You?

Click here to read our one-pager, which outlines what this law will mean for your business, your employees and your community.

Comprehensive Water Bill Passes, Heads to Governor For Signature

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Florida Legislature for fully passing a Florida Chamber-backed comprehensive water bill today that will help secure our state’s water future.

SB 552, sponsored by Senator Charlie Dean (R-Inverness), takes meaningful steps, using science-based solutions, to help ensure Florida’s water future doesn’t go the way of California.

This measure, which now heads to Governor Rick Scott for signature:

  • Will help ensure clean and abundant water,
  • Reduce the prospect of “water wars” among users in resource-limited areas, and
  • Promote strategic partnerships between the public and private sector in achieving water resource development goals.

The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates that by 2030, six million more residents will call Florida home. We commend House Speaker Steve Crisafulli,  Senator Charlie Dean, Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres),  and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for continuing to champion Florida’s water future.

What’s Next for This Bill

The bill now heads to Governor Scott’s desk to await signature.

Watch and Share Our “Keep Florida Clean & Affordable” Video

Watch the video to learn why Florida needs long-term water solutions and share with your employees, co-workers and friends. Share via twitter and be sure to tag @Florida_Wins.

 

Septic Tank Pollution Threatening Indian River Lagoon

It’s not the most pleasant subject, but human waste from inappropriately located septic tanks is being blamed for polluting many of Florida’s waterways, including the Indian River Lagoon – the most biologically diverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere.

Scientists at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have found that nitrogen-laden sewage from septic tanks draining into the lagoon is responsible for algae blooms that kill seagrass and marine life.

Recent news stories in Florida Today and the TC Palm’s Treasure Coast Progress & Innovation magazine have raised the issue of problems caused by the estimated 300,000 septic tanks along the lagoon.

Here Are Some of the Key Takeaways:

  • An analysis by Florida Today found septic tanks contribute an estimated 2 million pounds of nitrogen in the lagoon per year.
  • Nitrogen promotes the growth of algae, which suffocates seagrass needed to sustain lagoon life.
    Thousands of the septic tanks near the lagoon are located at homes built before 1983, the cutoff when state law increased septic tank setbacks from the water and the distance between drain fields and the water table.
  • Many of the septic tanks are old and malfunctioning. State health officials estimate up to 10 percent of Florida’s 2.6 million septic tanks are failing.
  • Harbor Branch marine biologist Dr. Brian Lapointe describes sewage nitrogen as “the smoking gun’’ threatening the lagoon.

Risks from septic tanks aren’t unique to the Indian River Lagoon.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce supports a Proposed Committee Bill by the House State Affairs Committee, as well as SB 552 by Senator Charles Dean (R-Inverness), which require water quality restoration programs to address septic tanks contributing to springs pollution and will benefit all state water ways by focusing resources on cost-effective water quality improvement projects.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Northwest Florida Water Management District recently set aside $11.6 million in state money to fund several projects to remove septic tanks from waterways in the Panhandle.

North of Orlando, the DEP has launched a study of about the impact of septic tanks on the Wekiva River. The state has declared the river and nearby springs polluted with nitrogen and phosphorous.

ICYMI: Below are links to recent articles highlighting septic tank pollution.