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SL316 A Guide to EPA's Proposed Numeric Nutrient Water Quality Criteria for Florida1 The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M. University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Introduction Authors' note: This topic is very complex with an intricate and lengthy historical background. Our intent here is to provide highlights and basics. We will present more detailed, comprehensive information in subsequent fact sheets. What happened on January 14th, 2010? What is this rule about? Is Florida the only state where numeric water quality criteria have been required?
What does "impaired water" mean? How many impaired water bodies does the state of Florida have? How do nutrients affect Florida's water bodies? Hasn't DEP already established water quality standards for Florida? So, what's the difference between "narrative" and "numeric" standards?
Both narrative and numeric standards allow some nutrients to exist in a water body. How do we know when we have too much? What happened to change the way DEP was addressing Florida's water quality issues? So, what happened as a result of the lawsuit?
What did DEP do as a result of the Consent Decree? What does EPA's proposed rule say? Who will be affected by this rule? What do the proposed numeric nutrient criteria look like? What is a "restoration" water quality standard?
What is meant by "site-specific alternative criteria?" If I want to comment on the rule, what should I do? Just how sensitive are Florida's water bodies to nutrients? How does EPA's rule differ from what DEP was working on?
So, what does all of this mean to Floridians, and what are the implications for the future? Specifically, what does the proposed rule mean for municipalities?
Specifically, what does the proposed rule mean to agriculture? Further Information A timeline describing the development of numeric nutrient criteria in Florida How are numeric nutrient criteria developed? The perspective of DEP and DACS is that the FWRA will continue to govern agriculture, regardless of numeric standards imposed by EPA. Agricultural operations that implement appropriate BMPs after filing a notice of intent to do so will receive a presumption of compliance with water quality standards even after acceptance of numeric criteria by DEP. The state of Florida is highly invested in the BMP program, and it is not likely to go away any time soon. However, in the long term, the requirements of the BMP program will likely change as a result of numeric nutrient criteria. With numeric standards, the success of the existing BMP program will be much easier to assess. It is likely that more aggressive and expensive practices will be required. It will be important to document the success of existing BMPs to ensure credit is established for on-going commitments.
Table 1. Numeric criteria proposed for lakes. A lake is a freshwater body that is not a stream or other water course, with some open water free from vegetation above the water surface. A B C D E F a Table 2. Numeric criteria proposed for rivers and streams, defined as free-flowing surface waters in defined channels, including rivers, creeks, branches, canals (outside south Florida), and freshwater sloughs. Table 3. Numeric criteria proposed for springs (the point where underground water emerges onto the land surface, including the spring run) and clear streams (free-flowing clear water other than a spring run: Table 4. Numeric criteria proposed for south Florida canals. A canal is a trench, the bottom of which is normally covered by water with the upper edges of its two sides normally above water. (Note: All secondary and tertiary canals wholly within Florida's agricultural areas are Class IV waters and thus are not subject to this proposed rule.) a