HB 1343 – Relating to Water Quality Improvements
On Thursday, February 27, HB 1343, co-sponsored by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) and Representative Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 15 yeas and 7 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
States are required by the Clean Water Act to maintain the quality of their waters. In Florida, water quality is addressed through water quality standards, total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), basin management action plans (BMAPs), and permits.
The bill addresses water quality impacts by:
- Transferring the Onsite Sewage Program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP);
- Repealing certain onsite sewage treatment and disposal system (OSTDS) advisory committees;
- Creating an OSTDS technical advisory committee to make recommendations that increase the availability of nutrient-reducing OSTDSs;
- Requiring OSTDS remediation plans;
- Requiring DEP staff training to include field inspections of stormwater structural controls;
- Requiring DEP and the water management districts (WMDs) to update the stormwater regulations using the most recent science;
- Requiring local governments to create wastewater treatment plans;
- Requiring sanitary sewage facilities to take steps to prevent sanitary sewer overflows;
- Requiring DEP to establish real-time water quality monitoring;
- Requiring advanced wastewater treatment for domestic wastewater discharges to the Indian River Lagoon;
- Prohibiting the land application of biosolids on certain sites;
- Requiring the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to conduct inspections of producers enrolled in best management practices (BMPs);
- Requiring the University of Florida to develop research plans for developing new BMPs; and
- Creating grant programs for the funding of water quality projects.
The also bill prohibits a local government regulation from recognizing or granting any legal right to a plant, animal, body of water, or any other part of the natural environment that is not a person or political subdivision; or from granting a person or political subdivision any specific rights relating to the natural environment.
HB 1343 will now move to the House floor.
AIF supports legislation that protects Florida businesses from lawsuits by defining that people cannot sue on behalf of inanimate objects, i.e. rivers, lakes, streams etc.