Supporting Science-Based Water Solutions
Florida’s ongoing economic recovery has fueled growth in all areas- from population growth to private-sector job creation. In fact, Florida is now the third most populous state in the nation and since December 2010 has created more than 1.6 million private-sector jobs.
But, an increased population means an increased need for vital resources such as water. Florida’s population is expected to have 26 million residents by 2030 – residents that will consume approximately nine billion gallons of water each day. From a single glass of water to fueling Florida’s large agriculture economy, water discussions must take into account the needs of the future so sound policies can be enacted today.
Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda
The Florida Chamber growth estimates place Florida’s water demand at 20 percent higher between now and 2030. The Florida Chamber understands that enacting strong, science-based water quality standards now will protect Florida’s natural and economic resources for the future.
As part of its ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced an educational partnership in March 2016 with Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. 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.
The most recent video in the series of educational videos demonstrates why following science-based research is important to securing Florida’s water future, and sheds light on the harmful role that septic systems are playing in ongoing water quality problems in the Okaloosa River Basin.
The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues
With a larger population and increasing demand for resources on the horizon, science-based solutions that take into account the needs of Floridians and our precious natural resources will help move us in the right direction. Adopting smart growth policies will benefit small businesses and families by growing the private sector and will protect Florida’s natural resources for the future.
Join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition‘s efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities and double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.
Chamber-Promoted Study Links Algal Blooms to Septic Tanks
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.
Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils 5th Educational Video On Science-Based Water Research Solutions
To Secure Florida’s Water Future, Follow the Science
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 8, 2017) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today unveiled its fifth in a series of water education videos which further demonstrates why following science-based research is important to securing Florida’s water future. The latest educational research video provides additional proof that septic tank problems are detrimentally impacting Florida’s water systems.
The educational video highlights research produced by Florida Atlantic University–Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Dr. Brian Lapointe, and sheds light on the algae blooms on the St. Lucie Estuary that followed unusually heavy rainfall in the winter and spring of 2016.
“In the research I have conducted on behalf of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, the science points directly to human pollution as the number one cause of what’s imperiling our state’s local water sources,” said Dr. Lapointe. “The leading cause of this pollution are aging septic tanks, which are leaking into the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie Estuary.”
The educational research video addresses the role of Lake Okeechobee and local basin discharges, and the science-based solutions that policy makers are considering to mitigate this problem in the future. Specifically, the educational research video points to local basin discharges and septic tank pollution as detrimentally impacting the quality of water in the St. Lucie Estuary.
“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water. With six million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based solutions are the only way to ensure Florida’s water future is sustainable, and provides the quality of life Floridians and our visitors deserve,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
The educational research video, Securing Florida’s Water Future: St. Lucie Estuary features the following water and environmental leaders:
- Deborah Drum, Ecosystem Restoration and Management, Engineering Department, Martin County
- Ernie Barnett, Florida Land Council
- Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of Water, Department of Environmental Protection
- Scott Martin, Professional Angler
- Doug Smith, Martin County Commissioner
On the research video, Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of Water for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says:
“The reason we know that septic systems are an issue for the St. Lucie Estuary is because we’ve monitored tracers, so we’ve looked for sucralose, this artificial sweetener, and we measured it and we know there’s a human source. And we’ve done the North Fork and the South Fork of the St. Lucie Estuary and we’ve seen sucralose throughout there, so we know that human waste water, septic tanks being very probable, is a source for all of these excess pollutants.”
Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) has introduced HB 339 that calls for septic to sewage conversions, and Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) is also advancing policy to support this effort in the Florida Senate.
“The Indian River Lagoon is the most bio-diverse estuary in our country and is one of our most treasured natural resources. It has been ravaged by harmful algae blooms, run-off and water pollution. Legacy Florida 2.0 will provide a dedicated and reliable funding source to address this problem. Septic to sewer conversion is a key component and will help preserve the IRL’s beauty for future generations,” said Representative Harrell.
“The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most valued economic and environmental assets in Florida. It provides over $7 billion dollars in revenue and inhabits approximately 4,000 different species. I am proud to work alongside Representative Harrell in passing this good bill to help save our lagoon,” said Senator Mayfield.
“Science based data is the key to meeting the challenges Florida faces, and the Florida Chamber is pleased to support the policy behind these proposals,” Wilson said.
The complete series of videos on securing Florida’s water future are available at www.FloridaChamber.com/WaterVideos.
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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.