TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force has published its first round of recommendations to lawmakers aimed at cleaning up the state’s waterways.
The task force was formed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after the devastating outbreak of toxic cyanobacteria – better known as blue-green algae – last year.
“To improve Florida’s water quality, making sure we’re protecting these treasures that make us unique as a state,” Gov. DeSantis said in January.
The task force’s initial recommendations follow multiple meetings around the state.
Beth Alvi with Audubon Florida said she likes what she’s seen so far.
“It was really interesting to see them ask the right questions and follow the dots to the questions that all of us who have been working in this arena have been asking for years,” said Alvi.
The recommendations include better monitoring of nutrient reduction plans and increasing best management practice enrollment and enforcement for agriculture.
“Lake Okeechobee’s problem, a big part of it is agriculture,” said Leon County Water Conservation Commissioner Bill Howell.
Septic tanks are also a major nutrient polluter in Florida. There’s more than 2.5 million in the state and 280,000 are leaking.
“That’s going directly into the water table. That’s the drinking water,” said Howell.
The task force wants to bring back septic tank inspections, which haven’t been mandated since 2012.
“To keep your septic tank working well you need to have regular inspections,” Alvi said.
The task force also wants lawmakers to move septic tank oversight to the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s currently monitored by the Department of Health.
More recommendations from the task force are expected to follow. The group is set to meet for a total of five years.
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