Bill to strengthen pollution notification rules advances in Florida Senate
A Senate committee in Tallahassee unanimously passed a bill that would set standards for how to swiftly notify the public about pollution. It’s an issue residents in the Tampa Bay Area have grown weary of.
It's pouring rain in downtown Tampa. Standing just outside Port Tampa Bay, you can see towering cargo ships, rumbling trucks and equipment.
Justin Bloom is Executive Director of Suncoast Waterkeeper, an environmental advocacy group. He says most commercial industries like those operating at the port are highly regulated to ensure environmental safety precautions are in place.
“But extraordinary events happen, and sometimes these safety measures are ignored,” Bloom said. “You know, look at what happened with Mosaic, for example.”
It's a reference to last August, when a massive sinkhole opened under a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Polk County. 215 million gallons of contaminated water dumped into the Floridian aquifer – and it was weeks before the public knew about it.
Bloom says while that was and is a serious concern, a more significant threat is constant storm water runoff. The day-to-day pollutants on our lawns, sidewalks and driveways – not to mention toilets – on a rainy day like this, often end up in our water, especially in the summer.