| DEP Discusses Protective Rules for Stormwater, Biosolids, and More
| The House Water Quality, Supply and Treatment Subcommittee (Chair, Rep. Stevenson (R-St. Johns)) received an update on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rulemaking progress by Deputy Secretary Jessica Kramer.
Why It Matters
Over the last two years, DEP has engaged in rulemaking that is meant to be more protective than current law, as mandated by SB 712 passed in 2020 as well as HB 1379 that passed last year. Topics included biosolids, septic tank certifications and setbacks, wastewater collection system inspections, and stormwater permitting updates.
Stormwater Rule Needs Ratification
The stormwater rule updates adopted in 2023 by DEP require legislative ratification. Florida’s existing stormwater rules are more than forty years old and are simply not protective enough. The new rule, while more protective, also provides flexibility in stormwater infrastructure choices looking towards innovations like Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development options to meet permit requirements.
Unexplained Delays in Increasing Septic Tank Setbacks
Committee member Rep. Cross (D-St. Petersburg) asked DEP if the agency had completed updates to Florida rules ensuring septic tanks are far enough from water bodies to avoid contamination. The Legislature mandated this update in its 2020 legislation, and last session DEP testified that it would be completed by the end of Summer 2023. In response, Deputy Secretary Kramer reported the work was not yet complete and the agency is collecting and reviewing data to get this task completed.