State Rep. Good files water quality protection bill

Focus is on updating regulations to improve stormwater before its discharge into water bodies

State Rep. Margaret Good. Photo courtesy Florida House of Representatives

On March 4, state Rep. Margaret Good, a Siesta Key Democrat who represents House District 72, filed House Bill 1343, “which will protect Florida’s water by creating a set of consistent rules” to improve management of stormwater discharged into water bodies, her office announced.

“Stormwater runoff from both new development and redevelopment continues to be a major cause of poor water quality in Florida,” a news release from her office says. “Stormwater captures pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste, and oil,” it adds, and they flow directly into waterways. Current regulations dating back to 1995 require stormwater treatment mitigation strategies only after waters have become impaired, the release points out. “Further, the current regulations don’t address additional pollutant loading in existing water bodies,” the release says.

A 2013 survey of 1,200 stormwater general permits revealed that over 98% were adding stormwater pollution to already polluted water bodies, the release adds.

“There is nothing more important than protecting Florida’s water, especially here on the Suncoast,” said Good in the release. “Last year’s disastrous red tide and blue-green algae outbreak were clear signs that we need to re-evaluate the rules governing our water, including how we manage stormwater. Our problems will worsen unless we address the pollution coming from new development and redevelopment. This bill modernizes statewide stormwater standards to protect our most precious natural resource.”

This is a summary of the bill from the Legislature’s website. Image courtesy State of Florida

The Cities of North Port, Venice and Sarasota have all unanimously adopted resolutions requesting that Gov. Ron DeSantis “reinitiate the legislative process to implement the Statewide Stormwater Treatment Rule,” the release points out.