Water Quality Improvements (Watch)

Water Quality Improvements (Watch)

HB 141 (Fine) and SB 216 (Gruters) impose new reporting and civil penalty requirements on wastewater treatment facilities and would authorize a dedicated source of funding for projects to improve Indian River Lagoon water quality. Specifically, the bills require wastewater treatment facilities that unlawfully discharge raw or partially treated sewage into a waterway or the aquifer to notify customers within 24 hours of discovering the discharge. In addition, the bills require wastewater treatment facilities to pay to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a civil penalty of $1 per gallon of sewage unlawfully discharged or to expend $2 per each gallon discharged to upgrade or remediate the problems giving rise to the discharge. Finally, the bills would provide a $50 million/7.6 percent annual appropriation from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for projects relating to the Indian River Lagoon. The bills direct DEP to use the money for 50 percent matching grants for advanced waste treatment, wastewater facility expansion and septic-to-sewer connections. (O’Hara)