FDEP issues final, Senate-mandated report on water reuse
On December 1st, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued the final report on expanding the use of reclaimed water, stormwater, and "excess surface water". The report was required by Senate Bill 536, which was passed during the 2014 legislative session. The bill requires "DEP, in coordination with stakeholders shall conduct a comprehensive study and submit a report on the expansion of use of reclaimed water, stormwater, and excess surface water in this state." Specific requirements of the bill are as follows:
- Hold a minimum of two public meetings to gather input on the study.
- Provide opportunity for public to submit written comments before submitting the report.
- Submit report to Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House no later than December 1, 2015, that includes the following:
- Identification of measures that would lead to the efficient use for reclaimed water.
- Identification of environmental, engineering, public health, public perception, and fiscal constraints of expansion, including utility rate structures for reclaimed water.
- Identification of areas in the state where traditional water supply sources are limited and the use of reclaimed water, stormwater, or excess surface water for irrigation or other purposes is necessary.
- Recommendation of permit incentives, such as extending current authorization for long-term consumptive use permits for all entities that substitute reclaimed water for traditional water sources that become unavailable or otherwise cost prohibitive.
- Determination of the feasibility, benefit, and cost estimate of the infrastructure needed to construct regional storage features on public or private lands for reclaimed water, stormwater, and excess surface water, including the collection and delivery mechanisms for beneficial uses such as agricultural irrigation, power generation, public water supply, wetland restoration, groundwater recharge, and waterbody base flow augmentation.
Video of August 20th webinar on the study: