Waterkeepers Florida, along with a strong coalition of Florida environmental organizations, banded together to provide extensive support for clean water positive stormwater regulations on the FDEP’s 2020 Stormwater Rulemaking after the Department’s request for public input. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) since 2007 has acknowledged the necessity of updating its stormwater regulations to match the state’s rapidly growing population, but the Department’s proposed handbook was never adopted.
In its letter, Waterkeepers Florida advocated for environmentally responsible changes to
current practices, such as the formation of a Technical Advisory Committee for proposed rulemaking, amendments to address existing failing stormwater treatment systems, and drafting rules that set the minimum—not prohibitive—standards for stormwater design and operation. An additional letter from other stakeholders including Tropical Audubon Society, Florida Oceanographic Society, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Everglades echoed Waterkeepers’ concerns and stressed the need for sea level rise-ready stormwater systems,post-construction monitoring components, and more.
Stormwater pollution from runoff is a major source of nonpoint source water pollution that affects Florida’s waterways, wetlands, and aquifer. As Florida’s population increases, so do impermeable surfaces and an increased likelihood of runoff. With runoff, comes nutrient pollution that makes its way through already strained stormwater management systems. The regulation of nutrient pollution in stormwater is essential to ensuring less nutrient pollution in our waterways—the kind of pollution that clogs pipes, contributes to harmful algae blooms and degrades water resources.
FDEP’s 2010 draft Environmental Resource Permit Stormwater Quality Applicant’s Handbook was set to establish climate-friendly stormwater regulations but was never adopted. Now a decade later, Waterkeepers Florida, along with a number of other environmental and water activists, has urged the FDEP to build upon those rules by taking into consideration our growing population, understanding of the real impacts of climate change, and the detrimental effects of nutrient pollution on our waterways.
The initial comment period closed on October 1, 2020.