Florida EPA still assessing new water safety guidelines


Published: Monday, January 18, 2010 at 1:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 18, 2010 at 1:17 p.m.

Following the Environmental Protection Agency's announcement Friday of new phosphate and nitrogen limits for Florida's waters, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says it is still assessing the new guidelines.

The FDEP is the state agency which will have to ensure Florida's waters meet federal standards. The new guidelines establish numeric limits for the two nutrient pollutants. Prior to the announcement Friday, the FDEP's standards for nitrogen and phosphate was determined by the apparent health of a given body of water. Quantitative limits of the two chemicals was not a determining factor.

FDEP had argued that most of Florida's water bodies were unique and a "one size fits all" standard was not appropriate.

EPA's new guidelines will be discussed by the agency during workshops throughout Florida during the year before final approval.

Following EPA's announcement, FDEP would not comment other than to release a prepared stament.

"We (the Florida Department of Environmental Protection) continue to review the draft rule that EPA just released," wrote FDEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller.

"As we review it, we encourage Florida scientists and water quality managers to also engage in assessing and commenting on the proposed criteria," she said, citing the uncoming EPA public meetings. "It is critical that those who are knowledgeable of Florida waters share information on the state’s unique ecosystems with EPA scientists to best inform their decisions in the future."

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