SB 1656 – Relating to Reclaimed Water
On Monday, February 3, SB 1656 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 1 nay. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The bill, which is based off the recommendations of the Potable Reuse Commission, recognizes reclaimed water as a potential source of drinking water, recognizes potable reuse water as an alternative active water supply, establishes specific water quality criteria for potable reuse, and prohibits certain utilities from discharging reuse, effluent, or reclaimed water via surface water discharges.
SB 1656 will now move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.
AIF supports legislation which increases Florida’s water supply by encouraging greater utilization of reclaimed water, direct and indirect potable technology, and other alternative water supplies that are both technologically and economically feasible. States with an adequate water supply will have a head start on future economic development and job creation.
HB 1363 – Relating to Basin Management Action Plans
On Monday, February 3, HB 1363 by Representative Toby Overdorf (R-Stuart) was heard by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to adopt water quality standards (WQS) for navigable waters. The CWA requires states to develop lists of water bodies that do not meet WQS, which are called impaired waters. States are then required to develop a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the particular pollutants causing the impairment. The TMDL is the maximum allowable amount of the pollutants the water body can receive while maintaining WQS. Once a TMDL is adopted, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may develop and implement a basin management action plan (BMAP), which is a restoration plan for the watersheds and basins connected to the impaired water body. A BMAP must integrate appropriate management strategies available to the state and must include milestones for implementation and water quality improvement, and associated water quality monitoring.
The bill requires nonpoint source dischargers (farm water runoff, for example) who discharge into a basin included in an adopted BMAP to comply with interim measures, best management practices (BMPs), other measures adopted by rule by DEP or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), or management measures adopted in a BMAP.
The bill further requires DEP, DACS, or the water management district (WMD), to verify by site visit the implementation of such requirements at least once every two years. The bill requires DEP, DACS, and owners of agricultural operations in the basin to develop a cooperative agricultural regional water quality improvement element as part of a BMAP under certain circumstances. The bill further requires DEP, DOH, local governments, and WMDs to develop a cooperative urban, suburban, commercial, or institutional regional water quality improvement element as part of a BMAP under certain circumstances.
HB 1363 will now move to the House State Affairs Committee.
AIF supports legislation that addresses the existing water quality issues as Florida’s businesses and citizens alike rely on access to clean, uncontaminated water.