News Feature | August 8, 2016

Florida Regulators Pass New Water Quality Standards

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

toxinsregular

It was in late July when a governor-appointed panel approved what some Floridians consider to be “controversial criteria” for water quality.

According to Florida Today, by a three to two vote, the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC) signed off on the new water quality standards for more than 100 toxic chemicals, including benzene, during its regular meeting in Tallahassee.

The next stop will be for the criteria to go to the U.S. EPA for approval.

"We have not updated these parameters since 1992, it is more good than harm," ERC Commissioner Cari Roth, a Tallahassee lawyer told Florida Today. "To me it would be far worse to delay."

According to the Miami Herald,  the updated rules will allow 23 toxins, including 18 carcinogens, to be discharged from industrial polluters at higher levels into the state’s waterways.

Environmentalist believe that Florida’s water will be “further harmed” and that the additional chemicals will alter natural hormones in Florida waters.

“That policy now says that more Floridians are expendable to cancer and other serious health diseases in order for industries to be more profitable,” Linda Young, executive director of the Florida Clean Water Network, told the Miami Herald.

According to wjct.org, nine members of Congress recently sent the EPA a letter voicing their concern.

Rep. Gwen Graham, who signed the letter, believed that it is not the right time to lower Florida’s water quality standards since algae blooms are currently plaguing the state’s east coast.

"We should be increasing our standards," Graham told wjct. "It makes no sense to me at all. As a matter of fact, it's just appalling that those that would be in charge of protecting our environment and protecting what's most precious in Florida and protecting our citizens are taking actions that put all of those at greater harm."

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Wastewater Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Florida January 13, 2015" Luca Sartoni © 2015, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/