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DEP STATEMENT REGARDING TODAY’S ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION COMMISSION RULE ADOPTION HEARING

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2013

DEP STATEMENT REGARDING TODAY’S ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION COMMISSION RULE ADOPTION HEARING

TALLAHASSEE - Today, the Department presented for adoption by the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission its proposed revisions to Florida's surface water quality standards in order to update the standards related primarily to seafood consumption and make changes to dissolved oxygen criteria to protect aquatic life.

The Commission unanimously adopted the dissolved oxygen criteria. This updates the amount of oxygen needed in waterways to protect species that live in those waterways, such as fish. The previous criterion was based on national EPA guidance that relied on studies not specific to Florida that date back to the 1960s and 1970s. These criteria are more accurate for protection of Florida species           

The hearing for the human health-based criteria was continued to late summer or early fall. While the proposed criteria are protective of the public health and our waterways, we understand the complexity of the proposed rules and the Commission’s decision to continue the hearing. There are many factors used to generate the criteria, and the Department will now take into consideration input provided at today’s hearing by the Commission and stakeholders. The Department will analyze the information and available data to see if there are opportunities to address this input.

The Department still intends to almost double that number of criteria by including 34 new pollutants to the list. Historically, the Department has regulated only 36 pollutants related to human health. We will also continue to pursue the latest science to evaluate the values. We will use the most current data on toxicity available and updated information on the changing patterns of seafood consumption.