Water-Related News

Third CFWI rulemaking workshop scheduled

Workshop Information:Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 1-3 p.m., via GoToWebinar.com

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has scheduled a third rulemaking workshop Wednesday, Sept. 30, to present new draft rules for consumptive use permitting in the CFWI region.

One of the goals of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) is to establish consistent rules and regulations for the three water management districts to ensure the region’s current and future water needs are met while protecting the water resources and natural systems.

The workshop will cover rules in Chapter 62-41, which will be adopted into Florida Administrative Code. The workshop agenda and draft rules are posted on the DEP website.

To learn more about the Central Florida Water Initiative, visit the CFWI website: CFWIwater.com

To register for the webinar, please use the link below.

Governor announces $50M in springs funding

On Friday, Sept. 17th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced $50 million for more than 20 statewide springs restoration projects during a press conference in Weeki Wachee.

Among the projects that will be funded are these:

Northwest Florida Water Management District
$1.1 million to extend central sewer service to the Tara Estates neighborhood located north of Marianna, including abandoning septic tanks proximate to the Chipola River.

Southwest Florida Water Management District
A total of more than $8.3 million for projects in Marion County that will help protect Rainbow Springs, including Burkitt Road Septic to Sewer, Northwest Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion, Oak Bend I-75 Water Quality Improvement and the 180th Avenue Package Plant Abatement.

St. Johns River Water Management District
$1.1 million for the Apopka West Reuse Storage Facility and Reclaimed Water Extension project that will provide nearly 3.48 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, benefiting Wekiwa and Rock springs.

Suwannee River Water Management District
A total of more than $2.3 million for the acquisition of more than 3,600 acres of land to protect springs in Columbia County Grasslands (Ichetucknee Springs), Devil’s Ear Springs Recharge (Ginnie Springs Group), Santa Fe Springs and Sawdust Spring (Sawdust and Devil’s Ear springs). The acquisition of these lands will help improve aquifer recharge potential, enhance recreational opportunities and protect native species.

EPA allocates $1M to help USF study harmful algal blooms

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sending $1 million to the University of South Florida to help study methods to control harmful algal blooms (HAB).

The USF study aims to look at “nutrient treatment technologies” to help manage those blooms inside Lake Okeechobee.

On Thursday, the EPA announced nearly $6.5 million in funding for seven different research institutions across the country to help study mitigation efforts.

“Harmful algal blooms are a serious and persistent problem across all 50 states that can have severe impacts on human health, the environment, and the economy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a release on the grant funds.

FDACS launches “Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program”

Last week, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) launched the Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program, a $2 million grant program to upgrade publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants with energy-efficient technology.

This new grant initiative was developed by the FDACS Office of Energy based on the findings of their study entitled “Mapping the Energy Landscape of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants in the State of Florida.”

This recently completed study provides a baseline on energy efficiency and renewable energy measures and practices at water and wastewater treatment plants in Florida, and recommendations on how to reduce energy use and operating costs. The study found that Florida’s wastewater treatment plants could save annually 26,763,827 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 6,354 tons of carbon dioxide through energy efficiency improvements.

CFWI rulemaking schedule extended

In response to requests for additional time to review the Draft CFWI Rules and Handbook, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is extending the submission date for written public comments until Sept. 24, 2020.

DEP also plans to schedule an additional rule development workshop on Sept. 30, 2020, rather than Sept. 16. DEP will send out a separate notice once the workshop details are finalized.

The updated draft rules from the Aug. 12 workshop are available on DEP’s website at floridadep.gov/water-policy. Click on “Water Policy Rulemaking” then “CFWI.” DEP also plans to post an updated draft of the rules to its website Sept. 24, 2020, for participants to review before the workshop.

DEP appreciates your feedback and participation in this rule development process and is happy to answer questions or discuss comments before the next workshop. Please contact Christina Coger at Christina.G.Coger@floridadep.gov or (850) 245-3150.

Written comments may be submitted to OWP_Rulemaking@FloridaDEP.gov.