Florida Senate - 2023                                    SB 1538
       By Senator Stewart
       17-00260-23                                           20231538__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to implementation of the
    3         recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force;
    4         amending s. 381.0065, F.S.; requiring owners of
    5         certain onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems
    6         to have the systems periodically inspected, beginning
    7         on a specified date; requiring the Department of
    8         Environmental Protection to administer the inspection
    9         program; requiring the department to implement program
   10         standards, procedures, and requirements; providing for
   11         rulemaking; amending s. 403.067, F.S.; requiring new
   12         or revised basin management action plans to include a
   13         list that identifies and prioritizes certain spatially
   14         focused projects; requiring the department to assess
   15         certain projects; providing requirements for the
   16         assessments; providing an effective date.
   18         WHEREAS, Governor Ron DeSantis created the Blue-Green Algae
   19  Task Force in 2019 to “improve water quality for the benefit of
   20  all Floridians,” and the task force’s consensus report was
   21  issued in October 2019, with multiple recommendations for basin
   22  management action plans, agriculture, human waste, stormwater,
   23  technology, public health, and science, and
   24         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that in June 2020,
   25  Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 712, the Clean Waterways
   26  Act, which implemented many of the recommendations of the task
   27  force, and
   28         WHEREAS, full implementation of the task force’s
   29  recommendations requires enactment of additional substantive
   30  legislation, NOW, THEREFORE,
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Present subsections (5) through (8) of section
   35  381.0065, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (6)
   36  through (9), respectively, and a new subsection (5) is added to
   37  that section, to read:
   38         381.0065 Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems;
   39  regulation.—
   40         (5) PERIODIC INSPECTIONS.—Effective July 1, 2025, the owner
   41  of an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system, excluding a
   42  system required to have an operating permit, must have the
   43  system inspected at least once every 5 years to assess the
   44  fundamental operational condition of the system, prolong the
   45  life of the system, and identify any failure within the system.
   46  The department shall administer an onsite sewage treatment and
   47  disposal system inspection program for such periodic
   48  inspections. The department shall implement the program
   49  standards, procedures, and requirements and adopt rules that
   50  must include, at a minimum, all of the following:
   51         (a)A schedule for a 5-year inspection cycle.
   52         (b)A county-by-county implementation plan phased in over a
   53  10-year period, with first priority given to those areas within
   54  a priority focus area for springs identified by the department.
   55         (c)Minimum standards for a functioning system.
   56         (d)Requirements for the pumpout or repair of a failing
   57  system.
   58         (e)Enforcement procedures for failure of a system owner to
   59  obtain an inspection of the system and failure of a contractor
   60  to timely report inspection results to the department and the
   61  system owner.
   62         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (7) of section
   63  403.067, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   64         403.067 Establishment and implementation of total maximum
   65  daily loads.—
   68         (a) Basin management action plans.—
   69         1. In developing and implementing the total maximum daily
   70  load for a water body, the department, or the department in
   71  conjunction with a water management district, may develop a
   72  basin management action plan that addresses some or all of the
   73  watersheds and basins tributary to the water body. Such plan
   74  must integrate the appropriate management strategies available
   75  to the state through existing water quality protection programs
   76  to achieve the total maximum daily loads and may provide for
   77  phased implementation of these management strategies to promote
   78  timely, cost-effective actions as provided for in s. 403.151.
   79  The plan must establish a schedule implementing the management
   80  strategies, establish a basis for evaluating the plan’s
   81  effectiveness, and identify feasible funding strategies for
   82  implementing the plan’s management strategies. The management
   83  strategies may include regional treatment systems or other
   84  public works, when appropriate, and voluntary trading of water
   85  quality credits to achieve the needed pollutant load reductions.
   86         2. A basin management action plan must equitably allocate,
   87  pursuant to paragraph (6)(b), pollutant reductions to individual
   88  basins, as a whole to all basins, or to each identified point
   89  source or category of nonpoint sources, as appropriate. For
   90  nonpoint sources for which best management practices have been
   91  adopted, the initial requirement specified by the plan must be
   92  those practices developed pursuant to paragraph (c). When
   93  appropriate, the plan may take into account the benefits of
   94  pollutant load reduction achieved by point or nonpoint sources
   95  that have implemented management strategies to reduce pollutant
   96  loads, including best management practices, before the
   97  development of the basin management action plan. The plan must
   98  also identify the mechanisms that will address potential future
   99  increases in pollutant loading.
  100         3. The basin management action planning process is intended
  101  to involve the broadest possible range of interested parties,
  102  with the objective of encouraging the greatest amount of
  103  cooperation and consensus possible. In developing a basin
  104  management action plan, the department shall assure that key
  105  stakeholders, including, but not limited to, applicable local
  106  governments, water management districts, the Department of
  107  Agriculture and Consumer Services, other appropriate state
  108  agencies, local soil and water conservation districts,
  109  environmental groups, regulated interests, and affected
  110  pollution sources, are invited to participate in the process.
  111  The department shall hold at least one public meeting in the
  112  vicinity of the watershed or basin to discuss and receive
  113  comments during the planning process and shall otherwise
  114  encourage public participation to the greatest practicable
  115  extent. Notice of the public meeting must be published in a
  116  newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the
  117  watershed or basin lies at least 5 days, but not more than 15
  118  days, before the public meeting. A basin management action plan
  119  does not supplant or otherwise alter any assessment made under
  120  subsection (3) or subsection (4) or any calculation or initial
  121  allocation.
  122         4.a. Each new or revised basin management action plan must
  123  shall include:
  124         (I)a. The appropriate management strategies available
  125  through existing water quality protection programs to achieve
  126  total maximum daily loads, which may provide for phased
  127  implementation to promote timely, cost-effective actions as
  128  provided for in s. 403.151;
  129         (II)b. A description of best management practices adopted
  130  by rule;
  131         (III)c. A list of projects in priority ranking with a
  132  planning-level cost estimate and estimated date of completion
  133  for each listed project;
  134         (IV)A list that identifies and prioritizes spatially
  135  focused suites of projects in areas likely to yield maximum
  136  pollutant reductions;
  137         (V)d. The source and amount of financial assistance to be
  138  made available by the department, a water management district,
  139  or other entity for each listed project, if applicable; and
  140         (VI)e. A planning-level estimate of each listed project’s
  141  expected load reduction, if applicable.
  142         b.For each project listed pursuant to this subparagraph
  143  which has a total cost that exceeds $1 million, the department
  144  must assess through integrated and comprehensive monitoring
  145  whether the project is working to reduce nutrient pollution or
  146  water use, or both, as intended. These assessments must be
  147  completed expeditiously and included in each basin management
  148  action plan update.
  149         5. The department shall adopt all or any part of a basin
  150  management action plan and any amendment to such plan by
  151  secretarial order pursuant to chapter 120 to implement this
  152  section.
  153         6. The basin management action plan must include milestones
  154  for implementation and water quality improvement, and an
  155  associated water quality monitoring component sufficient to
  156  evaluate whether reasonable progress in pollutant load
  157  reductions is being achieved over time. An assessment of
  158  progress toward these milestones shall be conducted every 5
  159  years, and revisions to the plan shall be made as appropriate.
  160  Revisions to the basin management action plan shall be made by
  161  the department in cooperation with basin stakeholders. Revisions
  162  to the management strategies required for nonpoint sources must
  163  follow the procedures in subparagraph (c)4. Revised basin
  164  management action plans must be adopted pursuant to subparagraph
  165  5.
  166         7. In accordance with procedures adopted by rule under
  167  paragraph (9)(c), basin management action plans, and other
  168  pollution control programs under local, state, or federal
  169  authority as provided in subsection (4), may allow point or
  170  nonpoint sources that will achieve greater pollutant reductions
  171  than required by an adopted total maximum daily load or
  172  wasteload allocation to generate, register, and trade water
  173  quality credits for the excess reductions to enable other
  174  sources to achieve their allocation; however, the generation of
  175  water quality credits does not remove the obligation of a source
  176  or activity to meet applicable technology requirements or
  177  adopted best management practices. Such plans must allow trading
  178  between NPDES permittees, and trading that may or may not
  179  involve NPDES permittees, where the generation or use of the
  180  credits involve an entity or activity not subject to department
  181  water discharge permits whose owner voluntarily elects to obtain
  182  department authorization for the generation and sale of credits.
  183         8. The department’s rule relating to the equitable
  184  abatement of pollutants into surface waters do not apply to
  185  water bodies or water body segments for which a basin management
  186  plan that takes into account future new or expanded activities
  187  or discharges has been adopted under this section.
  188         9. In order to promote resilient wastewater utilities, if
  189  the department identifies domestic wastewater treatment
  190  facilities or onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems as
  191  contributors of at least 20 percent of point source or nonpoint
  192  source nutrient pollution or if the department determines
  193  remediation is necessary to achieve the total maximum daily
  194  load, a basin management action plan for a nutrient total
  195  maximum daily load must include the following:
  196         a. A wastewater treatment plan developed by each local
  197  government, in cooperation with the department, the water
  198  management district, and the public and private domestic
  199  wastewater treatment facilities within the jurisdiction of the
  200  local government, that addresses domestic wastewater. The
  201  wastewater treatment plan must:
  202         (I) Provide for construction, expansion, or upgrades
  203  necessary to achieve the total maximum daily load requirements
  204  applicable to the domestic wastewater treatment facility.
  205         (II) Include the permitted capacity in average annual
  206  gallons per day for the domestic wastewater treatment facility;
  207  the average nutrient concentration and the estimated average
  208  nutrient load of the domestic wastewater; a projected timeline
  209  of the dates by which the construction of any facility
  210  improvements will begin and be completed and the date by which
  211  operations of the improved facility will begin; the estimated
  212  cost of the improvements; and the identity of responsible
  213  parties.
  215  The wastewater treatment plan must be adopted as part of the
  216  basin management action plan no later than July 1, 2025. A local
  217  government that does not have a domestic wastewater treatment
  218  facility in its jurisdiction is not required to develop a
  219  wastewater treatment plan unless there is a demonstrated need to
  220  establish a domestic wastewater treatment facility within its
  221  jurisdiction to improve water quality necessary to achieve a
  222  total maximum daily load. A local government is not responsible
  223  for a private domestic wastewater facility’s compliance with a
  224  basin management action plan unless such facility is operated
  225  through a public-private partnership to which the local
  226  government is a party.
  227         b. An onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  228  remediation plan developed by each local government in
  229  cooperation with the department, the Department of Health, water
  230  management districts, and public and private domestic wastewater
  231  treatment facilities.
  232         (I) The onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
  233  remediation plan must identify cost-effective and financially
  234  feasible projects necessary to achieve the nutrient load
  235  reductions required for onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  236  systems. To identify cost-effective and financially feasible
  237  projects for remediation of onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  238  systems, the local government shall:
  239         (A) Include an inventory of onsite sewage treatment and
  240  disposal systems based on the best information available;
  241         (B) Identify onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems
  242  that would be eliminated through connection to existing or
  243  future central domestic wastewater infrastructure in the
  244  jurisdiction or domestic wastewater service area of the local
  245  government, that would be replaced with or upgraded to enhanced
  246  nutrient-reducing onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems,
  247  or that would remain on conventional onsite sewage treatment and
  248  disposal systems;
  249         (C) Estimate the costs of potential onsite sewage treatment
  250  and disposal system connections, upgrades, or replacements; and
  251         (D) Identify deadlines and interim milestones for the
  252  planning, design, and construction of projects.
  253         (II) The department shall adopt the onsite sewage treatment
  254  and disposal system remediation plan as part of the basin
  255  management action plan no later than July 1, 2025, or as
  256  required for Outstanding Florida Springs under s. 373.807.
  257         10. When identifying wastewater projects in a basin
  258  management action plan, the department may not require the
  259  higher cost option if it achieves the same nutrient load
  260  reduction as a lower cost option. A regulated entity may choose
  261  a different cost option if it complies with the pollutant
  262  reduction requirements of an adopted total maximum daily load
  263  and meets or exceeds the pollution reduction requirement of the
  264  original project.
  265         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.