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Florida Legislature Passes Bill to Combat Blue-green Algae Blooms

In an ongoing effort to contain the blue-green algae blooms that have hurt Florida tourism and wildlife, the state legislature is sending Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill that proposes to reduce nutrients reaching our state’s waterways and groundwater.

The bill, which is a priority for the governor, includes recommendations from a task force which was formed to address the algae problem that has plagued the state in recent years.

The 77-page document addresses septic tanks, municipal wastewater treatment, storm water runoff, and farm fertilizers, among other items.

“This bill actually advances water quality in Florida in a real substantive way. I mean, I think I’m going to cry, I’m so excited,” said Democratic Rep. Margaret Good before the House unanimously approved the bill. “Clean water and water quality are so important to Florida.”

The Florida Senate unanimously passed the bill two weeks ago.

Algae blooms in the state’s rivers and other waterways have killed fish, irritated eyes and have shut down fishing, swimming, boating and other water activities.

With that in mind, the bill puts forth a plan to more closely regulate onsite sewage treatment, upgrade leaky utility water lines and better manage farm fertilizers that currently wash into the state’s waterways. It also directs the Department of Environmental Protection to work with the University of Florida in order to recommend rules for preventing fertilizers from flowing from golf courses.

“This is going to be a piece of legislation that we’re going to talk about decades from now as the starting point where we shifted gears and proved to people that we, as a state, are prepared to take on these big environmental issues,” said Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. “Make no mistake about it, this is an historic piece of legislation.”