Toxic blue-green algae have wreaked havoc on our coasts. It is damaging to our environment, our economy, and the health of people in our coastal communities. The formation of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force in 2019 was an important step in better understanding these toxic algae and how to prevent them. However, our legislature has not taken full action to address this issue.
The Task Force developed a set of common-sense recommendations that emphasize pollution prevention and address nutrient pollution from a variety of sources, including wastewater, stormwater, septic systems, and agriculture.
SB 1538/HB 423 will address some of the recommendations not incorporated into the Clean Waterways Act. It will develop an inspection program for septic systems, a known pollutant in both rural and urban areas. FDEP estimates that there are 2.6 million septic systems statewide, with many in areas vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding.
This bill also seeks to prioritize pollution reduction and water conservation projects that yield maximum results. This will allow us to better target investments towards projects that have the most bang for the buck and understand what is working.
Cleaning up our water cannot wait. Please urge your legislators to co-sponsor and support SB 1538/HB 423.