2020 Legislative Priority Recommendations
The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County (CWC) and the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition recommend that Florida take substantive and effective actions to ensure clean waterways and provide ample clean drinking water for current and future generations. Based on the available science, the primary nutrient loads are shown as three major slices on the pie chart, which will vary in size based on the specific watershed. Together they comprise the major root causes of the excess nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids entering and degrading Florida’s waters.
There is a specific issue with regard to agricultural lands where sewer sludge (bio-solids aka concentrated human waste) has been deposited for many years, creating excess concentrations of nitrogen and particularly phosphorus. These legacy loads are capable of continuing to leach into groundwater and waterways long after the sludge is applied.
To fund corrective action for these issues, CWC and BIRLC recommend:
The Governor and Legislature direct and fund FDEP to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) for one or more pilot projects to demonstrate environmentally benign, closed cycle, 21st century technology that would eliminate sewer sludge and its application on Florida’s farmlands and ranches.
Restore the Water Management Districts (WMDs) pre-2000 millage rates. A .25 mils increase ($25 per 100,000 taxable value/year) would generate an additional $421 million/year to be spent as matching funds for cities and counties to implement projects to
- Convert septic systems to sewer where they impact impaired waters
- Upgrade sewer treatment plants to Advanced Wastewater Treatment (ReUse
Water - 3mg/N/L)
- Build infrastructure to retain and treat stormwater
Implement a water withdrawal fee. In addition to the water quality crisis, we also have a water quantity problem. WMD’s are reaching their limits for Consumptive Use Permitting. This fee would encourage conservation and be evenly spread to all users.
Fully fund Florida Forever from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund so that natural lands are preserved. Keeping land natural is the best way to keep water clean while recharging our aquifers.