- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The proposal, released for public comment, would set a series of numeric limits on the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen that would be allowed in Florida's lakes, rivers, streams, springs and canals.
The proposed action also introduces and seeks comment on a new regulatory process for setting standards in a manner that drives water quality improvements in already impaired waters, the agency said in a news release. The proposed new regulatory provision, called restoration standards, would be specific to nutrients in the state of Florida.
In 2009, the EPA entered into a consent decree with the Florida Wildlife Federation to propose limits to nutrient pollution, after a 2008 Florida DEP report assessing water quality for Florida revealed that approximately 1,000 miles of rivers and streams, 350,000 acres of lakes and 900 square miles of estuaries were not meeting the state's water quality standards because of excess nutrients. The agency noted that such releases accounted for approximately 16 percent of Florida's assessed river and stream miles, 36 percent of assessed lake acres and 25 percent of assessed estuary square miles.
EPA will accept public comments on the proposed standards for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register (~March 16, 2010). The EPA will also hold three public hearings on the proposed rule in Florida to obtain input and comments on the direction of the rulemaking. These hearings are scheduled for Feb. 16, 17 and 18, 2010 in Tallahassee, Orlando, and West Palm Beach, respectively.