This year the Florida legislature has put renewed attack on the 2008 ocean outfall bill that outlaws the archaic practice of dumping 396,000,000 gallons a day of inadequately treated sewage into the coastal waters of southeast Florida. Last year your voices were heard and the attempt to delay the implementation of the outfall law was never brought to a vote in the Senate.
In the 2012 version of the bill, the shut-down date of 2025 for the sewage outfalls has not been extended. It remains 2025, which was the date to which all agreed when the bill was written in 2008. However, according to the analysis the 2012 bill:
- Extends compliance deadlines by which ocean outfalls must meet Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) standards from 2018 to 2020. It also extends the date for submission of a plan by the discharging permit holder from 2013 to 2014.
- Allows utilities to comply with the 60 percent reuse requirement from their ENTIRE SERVICE AREAS RATHER THAN JUST FROM OCEAN OUTFALLS by 2025. This provision will allow utilities the flexibility to find the most cost-effective method to achieve a 60 percent reuse for their service areas, however, it may also reduce the percentage of reuse derived from ocean outfalls. The bill specifies that only facilities which shared a common ocean outfall as of July 1, 2008, are required to meet the 60 percent reuse requirement individually but may contract to share or transfer this responsibility with other utilities.
- Allows utilities to continue backup discharges through ocean outfalls that are part of a functioning reuse system or other wastewater management system authorized by the DEP.
- Specifies a complete plan be submitted to the Legislature by October 2014 with an update due by July 2018.
- Requires the DEP, the South Florida Water Management District and affected utilities to evaluate the detailed plans and recommend to the Legislature adjustments, if necessary, to the reuse requirements in this bill. The report is due to the Legislature by February 2015.
This bill has passed the FL House and is in the FL Senate Budget Committee with 1 more potential stop to the floor.
Click to read letter sent to the Florida Senate from environmental and industry organizations.
BUT, THERE IS STILL TIME TO STOP IT! We are asking for your help:
Email the Florida Senate Committee on Rules and tell Chairman Senator John Thrasher you are opposed to the Miguel Diaz de la Portilla Senate Bill 724 (Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls) and request the Committee on Rules not schedule SB 724 for a vote before the Senate.
If you live in Florida email your FL Senator and tell them you oppose Senate Bill 724 and if the bill comes before the Senate ask them to vote against it. (Click here to find your Senator).
If you do not live in Florida you can still help, Tell VISIT FLORIDA®, the states official tourism marketing corporation you do not want to visit Florida to swim in the sewage polluted ocean: http://www.visitflorida.com/feedback/