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Water-Related News

Florida Water Star awards six participants for water conservation efforts

Florida Water Star(SM) presented six awards to local organizations and individuals for their work to further water conservation. Developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District and launched in 2007, the Florida Water Star program provides water conservation certification for homes, entire communities and commercial developments.

"Florida Water Star's legacy of water conservation is felt statewide," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "We see water conservation as a crucial tactic for meeting future water demands, so we're excited to recognize the work of our partners who are champions for conservation."

Six awards recognized a variety of achievements in water conservation across Florida.

  • Private Builder Award -- On Top of the World in Ocala
  • Nonprofit Builder Award -- Florida Home Partnership in Ruskin
  • Program Partner Award -- Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, in Orlando
  • Training Partner Award -- Kurt Thompson and Associates in Orlando
  • Certification Program Partner Award -- Florida Green Building Coalition in Tallahassee
  • Program Certifier Award -- Nathan Ritter with GreenBuilt Solutions in Orlando

In its first 10 years, 4,100 residences received water conservation certification through the program. The number of certifications being sought increased by 200 percent last year, from 79 homes in 2015 to 283 homes in 2016.

Herbicide treatment on Lake Price, 5/19/2017

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 5/19/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Hydrilla in the lake. WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY. DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 2 DAYS.

Please direct any questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

Herbicide application on Lake Marilyn 5/18/2017

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 5/18/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Spatterdock in the lake. WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY. DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 5 DAYS.

Please direct any questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

SJRWMD encourages HOAs to use water wisely during the current water shortage

On May 16, the St. Johns River Water Management district sent the letter below to HOAs within its jurisdiction.

On May 9, the St. Johns River Water Management District expanded a Water Shortage Warning for its 18-county service area due to below-average rainfall. The order includes all of Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties, and parts of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Lake, Marion, Okeechobee, Orange and Osceola counties.

The objective of the Water Shortage Warning Order is to reduce water use and increase awareness of the need for water conservation. Although conditions have not yet reached a point where there is an expectation of insufficient water to meet anticipated demand and protect water resources, current conditions do warrant heightened water conservation.

For many residential water users, the greatest water savings can be realized outdoors, where more than half of residential water is used on lawns and landscapes.

Understanding that many Homeowner Associations and residents address irrigation and landscaping via their Deed Restrictions and Covenants, we are asking for your support to promote water conservation with specific attention to how water is used outdoors.

As we prepare for the potential of prolonged drought, there are many actions that can help ensure the most efficient use of water, thus extending our potable water supply, until summer rains return.

  • Postpone any recommendations to sod or re-sod landscapes, as new sod requires increased irrigation for successful establishment.
  • Postpone any recommendations for extensive pressure-washing projects, which use significant amounts of water.
  • Please help us ensure residents are aware of watering restrictions. Year-round watering restrictions are in place to ensure that water used for irrigation is used efficiently, and specifies the days and hours to water lawns. Current irrigation is allowed between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. and the designated watering days depend on whether you have an odd or even numbered address. Printable materials and information about watering restrictions are available online at www.sjrwmd.com/waterconservation.

Water conservation is the cornerstone of Florida's water sustainability -- the district believes that conservation is a critical strategy in meeting the current and future water supply needs of our state. If you would like to schedule a water conservation presentation for your group, please contact Jennifer Mitchell, Public Communication Coordinator, at 904-730-6283 or jmitchell@sjrwmd.com.

Water shortage warning for all of SJRWMD expected next week

A lack of rain throughout the region has the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) contemplating its first districtwide water shortage warning in more than a decade.

On March 14, the district governing board issued a warning order for portions of Nassau, Flagler, Baker, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake counties. At next week’s meeting, there is an agenda item that would expand the warning to the entire district, which includes St. Johns County.

“It’s a request to ask folks, whether they be residents, homeowners, commercial/industrial (property owners), to take additional steps to conserve water,” said Kraig McLane, the district’s water shortage team leader. “A big part of this level is really to heighten awareness. We’re not at a point where we’re seeing critical shortages or large problems.”

The objective of a water shortage warning order, according to SJRWMD, is to reduce water use and ensure enough water is available to meet demand. A release from the district said conditions have not yet reached a point where there is an expectation of insufficient water to meet anticipated demand.

But district staff is recommending conservation efforts be put in place.

Pollution notice bill inspired by sinkhole passes Legislature

A bill requiring industry and government to notify the public quickly of any pollution problems has passed both houses of the Legislature and is headed for Gov. Rick Scott. Scott, who called for the change in the law, will definitely sign it.

The bill, SB 532, was inpsired by the sinkhole at Mosaic's Mulberry phosphate plant and St. Petersburg's sewage disaster.

The sinkhole, in particular, drove Scott's desire for the bill. When it opened up in August 2016 and swallowed 215 million gallons of contaminated water, dumping it into the aquifer, neither Mosaic nor Scott's own Department of Environmental Proteciton told the public about it for three weeks. The reason? State law did not require them to do so unless the pollution was detected outside the polluter's property boundaries. Mosaic (but not the DEP) later apologized for the delay.

The delay in St. Petersburg officials reporting the tens of millions of gallons of sewage that the city's aging wastewater system released into Tampa Bay after Hurricane Hermine bothered Scott as well.

Florida drinking water ranks among nation’s worst, study finds

7.5 million: The number of people in Florida served by water treatment plants with safe water violations

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article148112799.html#storylink=cpyMore Floridians are exposed to unsafe drinking water than just about anywhere in the country, according to a new study of violations.

The state ranked second in the number of people impacted by violations under the Safe Drinking Water Act based on the most recent data available from 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council said. Nationally, 77 million people were exposed to unsafe water, with violations including high levels or toxic arsenic, lead and other chemicals, as well as failure to test or report contamination.

The study, a follow-up to an examination of the lead crisis in Flint, Mich., comes as the Trump administration considers drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces the law.

“The problem is two-fold: there’s no cop on the beat enforcing our drinking water laws, and we’re living on borrowed time with our ancient, deteriorating water infrastructure,” Erik Olson, NRDC’s health program director, said in a statement. “We take it for granted that when we turn on our kitchen tap, the water will be safe and healthy, but we have a long way to go before that is reality across our country.”

To compile the data, the nonprofit looked at the most recent, comprehensive data and ranked states based on the number of people exposed to unsafe water. That could skew findings to heavily populated states, but even as a percentage, Florida ranked in the top ten, said NRDC spokesman Alex Frank.

Fertilizer-maker tests reconnection to Apopka wastewater plant

Anuvia Plant Nutrients may reconnect its $100-million fertilizer operation to Apopka’s wastewater-treatment plant Monday, about two months after the company was ordered to stop piping its discharge to the facility.

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and Anuvia CEO Amy Yoder said the city and the company have worked together to find solutions despite differences over causes that led to a temporary shutdown of Anuvia’s operation, which makes fertilizer used by farmers, at golf courses and on the turf at Orlando City’s soccer stadium.

After an 11-day shutdown, the company resumed limited production in mid-March under an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The state required Anuvia to treat, test and monitor any wastewater discharged in a spray field near its facility on Jones Avenue, about a mile west of U.S. Highway 441.

Under terms of a new agreement, the company and the city will closely monitor a pre-treatment protocol and a pre-treatment system installed at the Anuvia plant.

The two sides hope to begin a live test on the safeguards Monday.

New primer to “living shorelines” published

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A synthesis of recent thinking and results from practitioners and researchers of Living Shorelines just hit the stands. “Living Shorelines: The Science and Management of Nature-Based Coastal Protection,” details many aspects of the shoreline stabilization approach, and specifically includes: (1) background: history and evolution; (2) management, policy, and design; (3) synthesis of Living Shoreline science: physical and biological aspects; and (4) summary and future guidance. Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science participated in the project.

Carolyn Currin, Jenny Davis, and Amit Malhotra contributed a chapter entitled "Response of Salt Marshes to Wave Energy Provides Guidance for Successful Living Shoreline Implementation". The multi-faceted chapter provides information pertaining to the: energetic determinants of marsh habitat distribution; relationship between shoreline wave energy and marsh erosion rates; and the ability of fringing marshes to attenuate waves and trap sediments. The chapter also describes the results of a case study of natural and stabilized fringing salt marsh from central North Carolina and combines these results with those from the literature review to provide guidance on the physical settings in which fringing marsh and hybrid living shorelines can be considered.

Coastal ecosystem functions have diminished as estuarine and coastal shorelines have been managed mostly to support human infrastructure and economic benefits. Coastal management has evolved to include the use of nature-based shoreline erosion control approaches. Living Shorelines are intended to restore natural shoreline functions in estuarine, marine, and aquatic systems.

Florida Senate unanimously supports pollution notification rules change

The Florida Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to inform the public within 24 hours after a spill occurs.

Senators passed SB 532 on its third and final reading.

Sponsored by Manatee County Republican Bill Galvano, the bill was filed in the wake of Gov. Rick Scott‘s request for new public notification rules and legislation to ensure the public is kept informed of incidents of pollution that may cause a threat to public health and Florida’s air and water resources. The push came after a sewage spill last fall in St. Petersburg and Mosaic’s sinkhole in Mulberry that sent toxins in the drinking water supply.

The DEP filed suit, issuing an emergency rule requiring those responsible to notify the public within 24 hours. After business groups had challenged the rule, an administrative law judge rejected the rule, saying the department exceeded its rule-making authority.

SB 532 also requires DEP to develop and publish a list of substances that “pose a substantial risk to public health, safety or welfare.” If any company fails to notify the Department of an incident involving one of the published substances, it could face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day.

“People have a right to know, and it’s at the heart of public safety,” Galvano said.

All eyes are now focused on the legislation is being carried in the House (HB 1065) by Pasadena Republican Kathleen Peters. If it passes there, it goes to Scott’s desk.

SFWMD issues water shortage warning to 8.1 million Florida residents

WEST PALM BEACH – Falling water levels and extremely dry conditions that are expected to linger led the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board to issue today a water shortage warning to all 8.1 million residents in the agency's 16 counties.

"The purpose of this warning is to urge South Florida families to voluntarily conserve more water," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "This effort will help your water supply last through the remainder of the dry season."

The most beneficial conservation practice is compliance with the District's year-round landscape irrigation conservation measures and any local landscape irrigation ordinance. These rules can be found at www.sfwmd.gov/mywateringdays. If voluntary water conservation efforts prove insufficient, the Governing Board may consider further mandatory water use restrictions to equitably distribute the remaining water supplies and prevent serious harm to water resources.

On Tuesday, the Governing Board issued a temporary ban on all open fires and campfires on District lands. The ban includes lands open for recreational purposes in Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk counties. Additionally, SFWMD's prohibitions could be expanded to other locations throughout the District if drought conditions continue.

The wet season typically begins June 1.