The algae in Blue Cypress Lake contains microcystin at a rate of 4,700 parts per billion. Levels above 10 parts per billion are considered hazardous to humans. Photo: Barb Burr
This week’s release of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Report does not live up to the higher standard set by our new Governor in his Executive Order: Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment. Governor DeSantis stated that expediting progress towards reducing the adverse impacts of blue-green algae blooms now and over the next five years is a priority.
WHY FDEP'S BIOSOLIDS REPORT IS BAD
The report ignores significant financial, health and environmental risk presented by the St. Johns River Water Management District and other TAC members.
- The annual disposal of more than 89,000 tons of Miami’s sewage sludge (biosolids) within the Upper Basin of the St. Johns River is fueling harmful algal blooms and undermining public investment in nutrient pollution removal downstream.
- This transfer of pollution from South Florida to Central and North Florida saddles local governments with loss of revenue due to toxic green algae blooms and a clean-up liability of up to $200 million annually.
- Instead of providing the same protections as South Florida waters, FDEP is ignoring the urgent need to stop pollution at its source and is continuing to support the disposal of Miami’s sewage sludge in the Headwaters of the St. Johns River.
*Use your own language or copy and paste our ask below.*
@GovRonDeSantis , we urgently request you to issue a moratorium on sewage sludge applications in the St. Johns River watershed until legislation is passed to provide protections from this harmful pollution runoff.
— St.Johns Riverkeeper (@SJRiverkeeper) February 18, 2019
Read more findings in the SJRWMD report.
The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) has observed:
- Increased Total Phosphorous trends
- Increased incidence of Microsystis (freshwater cyanobacteria which includes the harmful algal bloom Microcystis aeruginosa)
- No evidence of land use driven changes and no other known sources of phosphorous loading
- Strong relationship between cumulative biosolids application and Total Phosphorous concentrations
- Potential for algal blooms, especially toxin producing taxa, such as Microcystis
- Impacts to Upper Basin water quality impact habitat conditions, recreation, and aesthetics
What's going on with biosolids? Watch this video by TCPalm for a visual recap on the issue.