Title: Report of The Task Force on Water - Draft
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 Material Information
Title: Report of The Task Force on Water - Draft
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: House of Representatives, February 1983
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Report of The Task Force on Water - Draft (JDV Box 43)
General Note: Box 18, Folder 1 ( Water Task Force - 1983 ), Item 29
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004153
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Full Text


DRAFT









REPORT OF THE TASK

FORCE ON WATER























HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FEBRUARY 1983










This report contains a compilation of
issues which have been presented to the
House Task Force on Water. It has not
been reviewed by the Task Force and,
as such, does not represent in this
form the endorsement of any position
or recommendation by the Task Force.






TABLE OF CONTENTS


PAGE NO.


I. Introduction .............. .......... ........... 1


II. Summary of Findings and Recommendations.......... 6

A. Water Quality................................ 6

B. Hazardous Waste.......................... .... 7

C. Non-Hazardous Waste....................... 10

D. Pesticides........ ....... ...... ...... .... 16

E. Abandoned Artesian Wells............. ...... 18

F. Organization of the Department of
Environmental Regulation (DER)
and the Water Management Districts......... 19

G. Water Management Districts Funding.......... 22

H. Department of Environmental
Regulation Funding........................ 23

I. Groundwater Protection Strategies........... 25

J. Funding for Groundwater Protection .......... 28

K. Recommendations Relating to Protecting
the Groundwater.... ....................... 29


III. Methodology............. ........................ 30

A. Appointment of the Task Force.............. 30

B. Methodology. ........... .................... 31


IV. Background.................................... 33

A. Hydrogeology................................ 33

B. Growth Considerations...................... 37

C. History of Water Management.................. 41






Table of Contents
'Continued
PAGE NO.


V. Issues .... .. ..... .................. .... ...... 48

A. Hazardous Waste................................ 50

B. Non-Hazardous Waste.......................... 56

C. Pesticides .................................. 68

D. Abandoned Artesian Wells.................. 72

E. Organization.......................... .. .. 75

1. Department of Environmental Regulation
and Water Management Districts......... 75

2. Federal Agencies ...... .... ...... .. 77

3. State Agencies........................ 77

4. Regional Entities....................... 78

5. Local. ..................... ................. 79

F. Water Management District Funding............ 83

G. Department of Environmental
Regulation Funding........................ 87

H. Groundwater Protection Strategy.............. 92

I. Funding for Groundwater Protection........... 99

J.. Recommendations Relating to Protecting
the Groundwater............................. 100

K. Environmental Concerns....... ............ 101

1. Acid Rain.......... .............. .... 101

2. Wetlands............................... 105







I. INTRODUCTION


The dramatic growth experienced in Florida over the past

twenty years has resulted in a state economy strong enough to

minimize the national recession and unemployment trends of the

1980's. A steadily expanding rate of development in such major

economic sectors as energy, manufacturing, and agriculture has

resulted in a level of relative economic stability for

Floridians. Growth in these sectors should continue at rates

which exceed those of the national average, at least for the next

quarter century.


The population of the state has also grown dramatically.

Since 1950, when Florida was the twentieth largest state, the

population has nearly doubled every ten years. Florida's

population was estimated at just over ten million people in

April, 1981, the result of a 43 percent increase over the past

decade, making Florida the seventh largest state. By 2010,

population analysts predict that the state will grow by 62

percent and Florida will be the fourth largest state.


Florida must come to terms with the social, economic and

environmental effects of this dramatic growth. Can we continue

to enjoy the positive aspects of growth and, at the same time,

minimize the impact of uncontrolled growth which can reduce the

quality of life for our citizens? Will there be enough water to

support the projected levels of growth? Will this water be of


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sufficient quality for its many uses by the citizens, fish and

wildlife and natural ecosystems?


Florida receives a large amount of rainfall and has two of

the most prolific aquifers in the country and many lakes,

streams, sinkholes and wetlands. Our apparent abundance of water

must be viewed in terms of both the impact of recent growth and

the fragile nature of the groundwater system.


The expansion of Florida's population centers, agricultural

operations and industry has traditionally meant the need to

minimize the damage due to flooding. Our flat topography makes

large portions of the state extremely vulnerable to flooding.

Drainage systems designed to steer flood waters away from

agricultural areas and cities have, at the same time, prevented

these waters from recharging the groundwater supplies. Over 90

percent of the state's drinking water comes from groundwater

sources; groundwater recharge is primarily, although not totally,

dependent upon rainfall in the recharge areas.


In addition to concerns about having enough water for our

growing population, Florida may also face serious water quality

problems. Runoff contaminated with heavy metals, pesticide

residue and toxic wastes enters the surface and groundwater from

both rural and urban areas. High levels of the extremely toxic

pesticide, Temik, have recently been detected in groundwater


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samples. The recent finding of Temik in drinking water has led

to its temporary suspension for most agricultural uses.


Septic tanks pollute the groundwater when placed in areas

vulnerable to flooding or in which the soils are not capable of

adequately cleansing the effluent before it reaches the water

table. In addition, viruses from such sewage, even when the

sewage is chlorinated to remove bacteria, have been associated

with hepatitus and gastrointestinal diseases. Yet, no agency is

charged with systematically monitoring septic tanks or

individually owned wells.


Adequate storage and disposal methods for hazardous wastes

represent another serious problem. Florida ranks fifth of all

states in the number of "most dangerous" hazardous waste sites

listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many of the

existing ponds, drainage wells and surface impoundments used to

store or dispose of industrial wastes allow seepage into the*

groundwater. Despite the vulnerability of our groundwater

resources to contamination, this state lacks a coordinated system

to gather the information needed to indicate the existence of a

problem or public health hazard.


Solid waste disposal is considered a serious threat to

groundwater resources, yet, because limited systematic monitoring

occurs on this or other types of contaminants, no clear picture

is available on the extent to which our drinking water supply is


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affected. The Open Dump Inventory, designed to evaluate all

municipal landfills, waste disposal sites, surface impoundments

and agricultural waste and mining waste disposal sites

indicated that 22 percent of the active landfills evaluated were

in violation of current standards. Due to federal funding cuts,

the inventory and follow-up inspection visits were severely

curtailed.


These and other problems which have come to light recently

pose important questions regarding the effect of growth on our

water resources and ultimately the quality of our lives: What

has been the cumulative effect, thus far, of such rapid growth in

a state with such a fragile hydrogeologic structure? What are

the qualitative characteristics of the type of life Floridians

want and are willing to pay for? What responsibility does the

state have to insure that an adequate amount of water of a

certain quality exists for its citizenry? How will the expected

growth rates affect the quality of life in 2010?


In response to these concerns about the effect of growth on

our water resources, the Speaker of the Florida House of

Representatives, H. Lee Moffitt, appointed a Task Force to

examine water issues in Florida. He directed it to consider

water quality as well as water quantity issues and specifically

asked it to determine whether, for the growth expected over the

next quarter century, Florida had adequate mechanisms in place to-.

protect this valuable resource. In particular, he asked it to


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consider whether Florida needed a groundwater protection

strategy.


The purpose of this report is to describe the actions taken

by the Task Force to meet the charge of the Speaker and to

present the results of the deliberations in the form of

recommendations. In doing this, the report will review the

approach taken by the Task Force, the state's geologic and

hydrologic characteristics, the implications of projected growth

for this state, and the history of Florida water management.

Specific issues which received in-depth consideration by the Task

Force and the resulting findings and recommendations are

contained in the body of the report.


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II. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Florida, up to the present time, has enjoyed relatively

inexpensive water supplies of generally very high quality. The

Water Task Force considered whether the mechanisms now in place

to manage and protect the state's water resources will be

adequate to maintain this condition for the population expected

over the next quarter century. A synopsis of the findings for

each of the issues discussed and the respective recommendations

are contained in this section. The major findings include the

following:


A. Water Quality

The possibility of decreasing water quality is the most

serious threat to this state's ability not only to insure

adequate supplies of clean water to its citizens but also to

protect its fragile ecosystems. Although time to consider

comprehensive data was limited, the Task Force strongly believes

that the likely contamination of the groundwater by such elements

as hazardous wastes, pesticides and other toxic materials

represents a serious, potential danger to the public health.


1. Lack of Information


Florida lacks any systematic, comprehensive, monitoring

system which would provide a clear picture of the degree and type,..

of contamination which is occurring. Additionally, the data


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which are presently collected by the different state, district

and local agencies are not shared in such a way as to promote

coordination.


2. Funding


Given these threats to the water quality of this state

and the potential danger to the public health of its citizens,

the lack of adequate monitoring and data, and the extraordinarily

expensive prevention and clean-up costs involved, the financial

resources which will be required to address the problem greatly

exceed those currently available to state, district and local

agencies.


B. Hazardous Waste


1. Findings


1. The Task Force believes the potential contamination

of ground water by hazardous waste is the single most urgent

issue facing the state in the protection of its water resources

and poses a major threat to the drinking water supplies and

public health of the citizens of this state.


2. There are over 200 uncontrolled hazardous waste

sites identified thus far in this state. The cleanup of such

sites is extremely expensive and existing funds and revenue

sources to complete this task are grossly inadequate.


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3. Hundreds of thousands of tons of hazardous waster

are generated annually in Florida. Only one-third of this can be

reused in secondary markets or handled on-site. The remaining

two-thirds receives some type of off-site treatment or disposal,

but Florida has no permitted off-site facilities.


4. In view of the lack of off-site management

facilities, many generators ship wastes out-of-state for

treatment and for disposal. The transportation costs associated

with this method encourages illegal or environmentally unsound

dumping.


5. Because of Florida's hydrogeologic conditions, the

disposal of hazardous waste by landfill is not an environmentally

sound practice. As a result, in-state hazardous waste treatment

facilities should be constructed which incinerate, neutralize,

solidify, or consolidate wastes.


6. The development of hazardous waste treatment

facilities is hindered by the siting process which effectively

provides local government through its regional planning council

with the power to prohibit the siting of such facilities. Only

with a two-thirds vote of the regional planning council can a

rejected request be appealed to the Governor and Cabinet.


7. The hazardous waste regulatory/enforcement program

is deficient in terms of identifying generators and enforcing

compliance with hazardous waste regulations. This results


-8-








primarily from inadequate funding and an insufficient role played

by local governments.--


2. Recommendations


1. Funding is grossly inadequate for the proper

regulation, management and clean-up of hazardous waste in this

state. The Department of Environmental Regulation should submit

a plan of action to the Legislature to insure the identification

and clean-up of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites as well as a

request for sufficient funds and staff to enable the Department

to safeguard the public's health and environment from hazardous

waste.


2. The current siting process impedes the construction

of needed hazardous waste treatment facilities. The Legislature

should require that any areas designated for industrial use in

local government comprehensive plans also be designated as

appropriate for hazardous waste sites.


3. A complete survey of hazardous waste generators has

not been conducted and the current excise tax on generators is

producing only a small percentage of the revenues which would be

possible if all generators were being taxed. The Department of

Environmental Regulation should submit a program to the

Legislature for the identification of such generators and

implementation of local programs by local governments in return


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for an appropriate percentage of the excise tax going to the

local government.


C. Non-Hazardous Waste


1. Findings


1. The possible introduction of bacteria and viruses

from septic tank leachate into the ground and surface water poses

a serious threat of disease to the citizens of this state. The

problem will worsen in view of the growth of septic tank use. It

is estimated that forty percent of the people of this state use

individual waste disposal facilities, such as septic tanks and

that at least 50,000 more will be installed each year. The

number of septic tanks allowed per acre has dramatically

increased in the past 8 years from one to as many as sixteen.


2. About eighty percent of the sewage treatment plants

in Florida are classified as "package plants" with a capacity of

less than 0.1 million gallons per day. Most of these plants

discharge the treated effluent into groundwater.


3. In some plants, no operators monitor the effluent,

and the level of training of the operators who do may be

insufficient.


4. Improperly disinfected sewage effluent causes

contamination of shallow aquifers and the near surface water


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table with viruses and bacteria as well as toxic materials,

depending upon the source of effluent.


5. There is no systematic monitoring of septic tanks or

small package plants, nor of the possible effect of leachate from

them on the public health.


6. The primary concern with industrial waste disposal

is the fate of toxic substances discharged into the environment

from unsewered industrial-parks. These toxins have been shown to

accumulate in aquatic food chain organisms and pose a potential

threat to fish and shellfish resources.


7. Florida faces a crisis in sewage treatment capacity.

More than $750-million has been requested for facility

construction this year alone. The needs for the next few years

are some $1.3-billion.


8. The federal government has administered a grant in

aid program for the last decade. Over the years, Florida has

received about $1.2-billion overall from the program. However,

the federal program has been cut severely and there is a

likelihood that the program will end in 1985.


9. Conservation and reuse techniques as well as user

types of fees and taxes can significantly reduce or help fund the

capacities required by local governments for sewage treatment

facilities.


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I







10. Local governments face immense needs in the funding

of sewage treatment facilities.


2. Recommendations


1. Florida Statutes and rules should be amended to

reflect the following limitations on septic tank placement and

use:


a. a maximum of one septic tank per acre in areas which

have a water supply which is unfiltered or

untreated;


b. a maximum of two septic tanks per acre in areas with

filtered and treated water;


c. a minimum of five feet of unsaturated soil below the

drainage field;


d. placement no closer than the following minimum *

distances:


(1) 100 feet from surface water;


(2) 100 feet from a private well;


(3) 500 feet from a public well.


e. drainage installation in accordance with plans

approved by the Water Management District or County-.

Engineer;


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f. no new food service establishment, industry,

laundromat, or other waste generator determined to

be inappropriate for septic tanks should be hooked

to a septic tank, and those currently on septic

tanks should be placed on alternative methods of

treatment by 1990;


g. septic tanks should not be used where a centraR14ed

sewage treatment system is available;


h. percolation tests should not be conducted during

periods of dry weather as determined by DHRS;


i. residence should be defined as a single family

dwelling;


j. provision for variance or waiver of these

requirements, when it can be demonstrated that there

will be no adverse effect of the environment or'

public health.


2. There is an immediate need to study the short term

and long term effects of septic tanks on Florida's groundwater.

Therefore, the Legislature should fund DHRS's current request for

a contract with private industry, universities and the state to

do the following:


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a. develop realistic formulae for septic tank use which

take into account the particular hydrogeological-

composition of subsurface water and soils;


b. investigate new septic tank designs which meet the

unique needs of Florida's environment;


c. investigate alternative methods for sewage treatment

in environmentally sensitive areas;


d. identify contaminants which are released by septic

tank use, including microbiology and virology,

chemicals and organic pollutants.


3. DER should prohibit package plants below a capacity

of 10,000 gallons per day in close proximity to residential

areas. The Department should establish, by rule, criteria for

determining close proximity; however, flexibility in the type of

treatment should be afforded to plants serving more isolated*

establishments.

4. The Legislature should provide that no new unsewered

industrial parks will be platted and that all existing industrial

parks which are unsewered should be retrofitted, within a

reasonable period of time.


5. The Legislature should establish state-supported

program of financial assistance to local governments for the

construction of sewage treatment facilities. The program should


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be for a limited period of 5 years, and should provide at least

$50-million for grants each year. The program should set aside a

sizeable portion each year to assist smaller communities-in a

flexible support program where matching requirements may be

reduced or waived for these communities that cannot qualify under

the current funding system.


6. As well as saving water, conservation techniques

play an important role in the reduction of sewage treatment needs

of local governments. Criteria for grants issued under the

state-supported funding program should include appropriate water

conservation and reuse requirements.


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D. Pesticides


1. Findings


1. The Task Force believes that a serious lack of

attention has been given to the possible impact of pesticide use

on the groundwater supplies of this state. Testimony to the Task

Force indicated that neither the EPA nor the Department of

Agriculture and Consumer Services does any significant testing,

prior to licensure, to determine what, if any, threat a proposed

pesticide might pose in an area possessing the soil or

hydrogeologic and climatic conditions which characterize Florida..


2. The state and federal agencies responsible for

certifying restricted-use pesticides do not require that

manufacturers provide scientific and technical data based upon

Florida soil and climate condition. At least one toxic

pesticide, Temik, which was expected to dissipate within weeks of

application has been detected in test wells in Florida one year

after application in concentrations of from three to thirty times

the federal safety level in drinking water and was recently

temporarily suspended from use in Florida after its detection in

drinking water.


3. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

samples crops and analyzes them for pesticide residue; it has no

responsibility to test for pesticides contaminating the


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_







groundwater. There is no systematic monitoring program for

pesticides in Florida's groundwater.


2. Recommendations


1. There is an urgent need for adequate monitoring and

data to evaluate the impact of pesticides on groundwater. The

Department of Environmental Regulation and Water Management

Disticts must begin an immediate systematic Drogram of such data

collection, especially in-areas where the quantity or toxicity of

pesticides in use pose a particular threat.


2. No governmental entity presently systematically

evaluates the possible impact of pesticides on the particular

groundwater conditions in Florida. The Department of

Environmental Regulation should determine those cases in which

there is evidence to impose additional restrictions on pesticide

use to protect the groundwater and the Department should be given

express statutory authority to regulate pesticide use to prevent

pollution of the state's water resources. This authority should

include the requirement for joint approval between the Department

of Environmental Regulation and the Department of Agriculture and

Consumer Services on all restricted pesticides used in Florida.


3. Federal and state agencies rely primarily on data

and testing supplied by pesticide manufacturers. The Legislature

should require pesticide manufacturers to certify their products ,--

as safe for use in Florida.


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E. Abandoned Artesian Wells


1. Findings


1. In many parts of Florida, but predominantly in the

southwest coastal area, there are approximately 25,000 free-

flowing artesian wells, discharging in the order of one billion

gallons of water per day, some of which is highly saline.


2. These uncapped or unplugged wells are causing the

loss of good quality water due to the inability to control free-

flowing discharge and the loss of good quality water zones due to

upward contamination from poor quality zones.


3. Thousands of wells need to be inventoried and

plugged, at an estimated cost of between $2,200 and $5,000 per

well.


2. Recommendations


Free-flowing artesian wells are an urgent problem which

are wasting billions of gallons of water each year and pose an

immediate potential threat of contaminating groundwater drinking

supplies. The Legislature should require each water management

district to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental

Regulation by January 1, 1984 which would contemplate the

identification and capping of all free-flowing artesian wells in

each district prior to January 1, 1989.


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F. Organization of the Department of Environmental Regulation

(DER) and the Water Management Districts


1. Findings


1. Despite the number of agencies at various levels of

government involved in regulating the water resources of the

state, on the whole, the organizational structure established in

Florida to manage its water resources appears to be satisfactory.


2. In those cases in which gaps exist between programs,

the existing statutory framework, under the present authority of

DER, appears broad enough to close the gaps. In most respects,

the agencies have done a reasonable job of coordination through

delegation, interagency agreements, and informal working

arrangements. Problems were noted in the lack of coordiantion

between DER and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer

Services (DACS) relative to potential pesticide contamination of

the groundwater and between DER and the Department of Health and

Rehabilitative Services (HRS) over the possible threat of

contamination of public drinking water supplies.


3. Although systematic monitoring systems for the

quantity of the state's water resources are relatively numerous,

monitoring for contamination of the quality of the water, except

for chlorides, appears to be inadequate. Of particular concern

is the fact that what little data are collected by the various

agencies are not pooled or shared in any systematic fashion.


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4. DER has delegated the responsibilities for

protecting the quantity of the state's water-resources to the

five regional Water Management Districts, consistent with the

Legislature's intent expressed in Chapter 373, Florida Statutes,

that the Department delegate appropriate powers to the greatest

extent practicable. No information has been presented to the

Task Force to indicate that the Districts have not assumed the

responsibilities associated with such delegations in an effective

manner.


5. DER and the Water Management Districts are presently

identifying additional programs and responsibilities which may be

delegated to the Districts. However, some of the Water

Management Districts are operating under severe financial

constraints which pose problems for further delegations.


2. Recommendations


1. In view of the generally satisfactory organizational

structure which has been established to protect and manage the

quality of the state's water resources, any comprehensive

reorganization with respect to water quality programs would

probably result in confusion, undermine existing vital programs,

and further delay the implementation of important future programs

currently under consideration.


2. All state, regional, and local agencies involved in

groundwater programs should develop written interagency


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agreements of coordination allocating responsibilities and

designating-lead-agencies when threats or potential threats to

the state's-groundwater are encountered, especially when public

drinking supplies are involved.

3. The Department of Environmental Regulation should

standardize data requirements, where necessary, to provide for

the pooling, in a central location, of all appropriate data

relative to the state's water resources.


4. The Department of Environmental Regulation should

continue to delegate water quality and solid waste programs to

the Water Management Districts and local governments as these

entities have the ability and financial resources to assume

responsibility for these programs. However, the Department has

ultimate statutory responsibility for these activities and must

continue a supervisory role in such delegated programs.

5. To the greatest extent practical, staffs of district

offices of the Department of Environmental Regulation, the Water

Management Districts, the Regional Planning Councils, and the

Game and Freshwater Fish Commission should be co-located in one

building or location.


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G. Water Management Districts Funding


1. Finding


1. Based upon testimony to the Task Force, it is clear

that the constitutional limitation on Northwest Florida Water

Management District's millage and the maximum millage rates

established by the legislature in 1976 impose severe impediments

on the districts' ability to carry out their statutory

responsibilities.


2. In light of the financial constraints placed upon

them, the Task Force believes that the five Water Management

Districts have responded well to the particular problems and

needs with respect to water management in each of their areas.


2. Recommendations


1. There is every reason to believe that water

management districts will be confronted by an array of increasing

responsibilities and programs to properly manage the waters of

this state. The Florida Constitution should be amended to

provide a 1.0 millage rate for all water management districts and

the Legislature should reexamine the current statutory village

limitations placed upon the districts in light of their

increasing responsibilities.


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H. Department of Environmental Regulation Funding


1. Findings

1. In responding to the-Speaker's charge, the Task

Force found that no other single issue was more apparent than the

fact that the Department of Environmental Regulation currently

does not have sufficient funding or manpower to adequately carry

out its existing programs to protect the quality of Florida's

water. In addition, the impending cutbacks in federal grants and

shortfalls in state revenues will cripple its present efforts.


2. The Department must often respond quickly to an

increasing number of short-term emergencies involving a threat or

an actual contamination of the groundwater. DER's present role

in responding to such incidents has been limited to providing

technical assistance by advising the responsible parties as to

what should be done to avoid a problem or how to contain or clean

up the results of an incident. Unfortunately, the parties often

have neither the funds nor the ability to obtain the resources

necessary to respond to the problem in a timely manner.


2. Recommendations


1. The Legislature must give high priority to providing

adequate funding to the Department of Environmental Regulation

for the protection of Florida's water resources.


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2. The Florida Congressional Delegation should be urged

to attempt to preserve the federal environmental program grant

funds.


3. An emergency fund should be established to insure

that resources are immediately available to respond to incidents

which threaten the environment or public health when responsible

parties are unable to adequately respond.


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I. Groundwater Protection Strategits


1. Findings

1. Florida is highly dependent upon its groundwater.

Over 90 percent of the state's drinking water is supplied from

groundwater sources and 20 percent of our citizens drink

untreated water from private wells. It constitutes 82 percent of

water used by industry in the state and 53 percent of irrigation

water. Groundwater is also the source for many surface water

streams and lakes.


2. The serious threat of contamination of the

groundwater includes:

a. The discovery of more than 200 uncontrolled

hazardous waste sites and over 6,000 surface

impoundments. 1,300 of these are industrial and

over 90 percent of these are unlined.


b. There are about 7,000 drainage wells discharging

water and wastewater directly into potable water

aquifers and thousands of septic tanks installed in

what are probably unsuitable areas for septic tank

operation.


c. There are thousands of buried industrial storage

tanks and gasoline tanks that are susceptible to

corrosion and leakage into the groundwater and


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thousands of free-flowing abandoned wells

discharging saline or lower-quality water into fresh

water aquifers.


d. Hundreds of thousands of agricultural acres receive

large amounts of pesticides and herbicides,

sometimes in areas of high natural recharge to

potable aquifers. Many of these chemicals are toxic

to humans.


2. Recommendations


1. The Department of Environmental Regulation should

establish a centralized groundwater data base accessible to all

agencies and local governments. This computerized program must

be capable of data assimilation for analysis of trends in

groundwater quality and must also be user-oriented to enable

agencies and local governments to utilize the data in regulatory

and land use planning decisions.


2. The Department of Environmental Regulation, in

cooperation with other agencies and local governments, should

identify areas which would receive priority attention for

systematic monitoring of groundwater quality. The priority

should be based on particular hydrogeologic, climatic or soil

conditions, land use activities, and other appropriate criteria

to identify those areas most susceptible to contamination of the'-

groundwater and the degree of danger to public health or the


-26-







environment posed by such contamination. However, the actual

sampling and testing at these sites should be done by local and

regional agencies whenever possible.

3. The Legislature should transfer the Florida Safe

Water Drinking Act program entirely to the Department of Health

and Rehabilitative Services (DHRS) making one state agency

responsible for all public and private drinking water supplies.

DHRS, DER, and the water management districts should develop an

interagency agreement for the sampling and testing of private and

public wells, especially in areas where groundwater contamination

is suspected or likely to occur.


4. The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services

should test drinking water supplies throughout the state on a

systematic basis for all 129 priority pollutants identified by

the Environmental Protection Agency.


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J. Funding for Groundwater Protection


The Task Force believes that the contamination of the

groundwater by such elements as hazardous wastes, pesticides and

other toxic materials represents a serious, potential danger to

the public health. However, Florida lacks any systematic,

comprehensive monitoring system which would provide a clear

picture of the degree and type of contamination which is

occurring. It is clear that the recommendations in this report

which would protect the groundwater through prevention and clean-

up activities and which would establish a comprehensive

monitoring system greatly exceed the funds which are available at

the state, district and local level.


The following estimates have been made for each of the

recommendations in this report which are designed to protect the

groundwater.


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K. Recommendations Relating to Protecting the Groundwater


1. Funding for the regulation, management
clean-up and enforcement-of hazardous
waste in the state (Hazardous Waste,
Recommendation #1).

2. Identification of hazardous waste
generators (Hazardous Waste,
Recommendation #3).

3. Development of mandatory inspection
system for package plants (Non-
hazardous Waste, Recommendation
#3).

4. Development of a state supported
funding program to assist local
governments to develop sewage
systems (Non-hazardous Waste,
Recommendation #6).

5. Identification and capping of all
free-flowing, artesian wells
(Abandoned Artesian Wells).

6. Systematic monitoring program for
pesticides (Pesticides, Recommendation
#1).

7. Regulation of pesticides to prevent
pollution of water resources, establish-
ment of conditions or criteria to
impose additional restrictions on
pesticide use (Pesticides,
Recommendation #2).

8. Standardization of data requirements
and centrally store all data relating
to groundwater (DER Organization,
Recommendation #3 and Groundwater
Protection Strategy, Recommendation
#1).

9. Establishment of an Emergency Fund
(DER Funding, Recommendation #3).


TOTAL


10. HRS testing of drinking water supplies


DER FY 1983-85
Cost Estimates

$ 10.8 million


700,000


400,000




100.0 million





10.0 million


300,000



400,000


300,000


6.0 million

128.9 million

HRS FY 1983-85
Cost Estimate

614,144


-29-







III. METHODOLOGY


A. Appointment of the Task Force


By appointing the Task Force on Water Issues, House_-

Speaker H. Lee Moffitt signaled his desire to place water

problems at the very top of the legislative agenda during the

coming two years. Florida, he noted, has experienced a rapid

growth in population, with concomitant increases in manufacturing

and agricultural activities. This, coupled with the state's

hydrologic and geologic characteristics and the reliance on

groundwater for over 90 percent of its drinking water, means that-

particular attention must now be paid to strategies for

protecting and managing water resources.


The importance of water as a pressing legislative

concern had also become evident after a 1981 retreat, held for

the Democratic Members of the Florida House of Representatives in

the Withlacoochee State Forest. The purpose of the retreat was

to identify and rank the most important immediate and long-term

issues to be addressed by the Legislature. After three days of

discussion, the Members present agreed that water was one of the

single, most important, immediate as well as long-term issues

which must be addressed.


For the Task Force, Speaker Moffitt drew upon

individuals with backgrounds at national, state and local levels:-.

Former State Representative William E. Sadowski was appointed as


-30-








Chairman of the Task Force. (A complete listing of the members

is included in Appendix A.)---


B. Methodology


The Speaker's charge to the Task Force was

intentionally flexible to allow them the opportunity to explore a

wide range of problems associated with water. (The complete text

of the Speaker's Charge is included in Appendix B.)

Initial presentations served to provide all members

with a common factual understanding of Florida's unique geologic

and hydrologic characteristics, water law, the history of the

state's management of water, the organizational structure of the

current framework for water management and a number of existing

problems which require attention in view of the state's projected

population increase. (A summary of the meetings and the agendas

are included in Appendix C.)


Several water management district's regions were used

as the focal point for organizing the analysis of Florida's water

situation. Meetings were held in several districts and each of

the districts was asked to respond to eleven questions felt to be

important to Task Force members. (The compiled questions and

responses are included in Appendix D.) Each district was also

given the opportunity to present issues which they felt were

regionally important.


-31-








At each of these regional meetings, other specific

topics were addressed which are relevant to the region and/or the

state such as hazardous waste disposal, groundwater

contamination, etc.


-32-







IV. BACKGROUND


A. Hydrogeology


Water is one of Florida's most abundant and important

natural resources. At an average of fifty-three inches per year,

the state receives more rainfall than any other state in the

continental United States except Louisiana. Over one-fourth of

the state is classified as wetlands and this figure excludes open

water and lands only seasonally flooded. Florida has 1,700

streams over four miles in length and 7,700 lakes greater than

one acre in size. The groundwater resources of the state are

also immense. The Floridan Aquiferwhich underlies almost all of

the state is among the most productive aquifers in the world and

much of Florida's coastline overlies unusually productive shallow

coastal aquifers, such as the Biscayne Aquifer in southeast

Florida.


Each day, some 170 billion gallons (bgd) of fresh water

come into the state. Approximately 86 percent (147 bgd) comes

from rainfall while the remaining 14 percent (23 bgd) enters in

rivers and streams from Alabama and Georgia. Florida's rainfall

exhibits a strong seasonality. For peninsular Florida, there is

a distinct wet summer season and a pronounced winter dry season.

On the other hand, northern Florida experiences two wet seasons,

one in the summer and another in the winter. Florida's rainfall

also varies considerably from year to year, and any given


-33-







location may receive twice as much rainfall in some years as in

others. This uneven distribution of rainfall has significant

implications since rainfall constitutes the sole source of water

for most of Florida except for the 14 percent inflow from Alabama

and Georgia enjoyed by north Florida.


Of the 170 billion gallons of freshwater per day

entering the state, about 62 percent (105 bgd) leaves through

evapotranspiration, 25 percent (42 bgd) by surface flow, and 12

percent (21 bgd) is consumed by human endeavors.


Evapotranspiration represents the combined evaporation

from soil and wet surfaces and the transpiration of water into

the atmosphere by plants. The evapotranspiration rate increases

as the climate becomes more tropical to the south and averages as

much as 70 percent of the annual rainfall in southern urban areas

and as much as 95 percent of the rainfall in undeveloped areas

such as the Big Cypress and the Everglades.

Florida's surface waters are contained in twelve major

river basins and innumerable smaller ones. The majority of

Florida's river systems are in the northern and western parts of

the state. These rise from springs, lakes or wetlands and are

typically shallow, meandering, and slow-moving because of the

state's topography. Most of Florida's lakes lie within the

peninsular section. Lake Okeechobee, covering some 700 square

miles, is the second largest freshwater lake in the United


-34-








States. Florida lakes are typically very shallow with depths

averaging 10-15 feet. Although there is a net outflow of surface

waters with 23 bgd entering from Alabama and (orgia, some 42 bqd

leaves the state by outflows to tidewater.


It is important to recognize that important benefits

are served by surficial flows such as nutrient transport and

maintenance of proper salinity levels in coastal estuaries and

fisheries nursery grounds; maintenance of wetlands and their

associated wildlife; recreation and navigation, and the dilution

and transport of wastes.


The volume of water beneath the ground in Florida is

many times that on the surface. Almost the entire state is

underlain with porous and permeable rock formations called

aquifers which hold much of the state's groundwater. In central

and north Florida, a limestone formation known as the Floridan

Aquifer is the primary source of potable groundwater. The

freshwater portion of the aquifer in this part of the state is as

much as 2,000 feet thick and is part of a larger Southeastern'

Limestone Aquifer which is the most productive aquifer of all

fourteen regional aquifers found in the United States. To the

south and toward the coast, however, the Floridan tapers out,

becomes less productive or is highly mineralized.


The other principal aquifer in Florida is the Biscayne

Aquifer underlying Dade, Broward and part of Palm Beach Counties.


-35-


I







It is also very productive and consists of highly permeable

limestone and sand. It is the sole source of groundwater in the

area and exists under water-table conditions which makes it

extremely susceptible to contamination from surface activities.

In other coastal areas of the state shallow aquifers such as the

Sand and Gravel Aquifer in northwest Florida constitute the

primary source of drinking water. (See Fiqure 1.) The 21 bgd

groundwater outflow includes discharges from springs and the

continued discharge into the sea which prevents saltwater

intrusion.


Figure 2 illustrates the human uses of freshwater in

Florida by source, use, and disposition. The overall amount of

surface and groundwater which is used is about equal. Seventy-

one percent of the water used in human endeavors is returned to

the system, while the remaining 29 percent is consumptively used

and removed from the immediate system. Irrigation constitutes

the highest total use at 41 percent of all human use and the

highest consumptive use. Fifty-five percent of the water not

returned to the system is due to irrigation, largely as a result

of high evapotranspiration losses. Thermoelectric power

generation at 26 percent is the second largest user of freshwater

in the state, but 90 percent of this is returned to the system.

Public supplies account for 19 percent of freshwater used with 76

percent returned to the system. The importance of groundwater to

public water supplies is evident from the fact that 87 percent of


-36-


~







all public water supplies comes from groundwater. The same heavy

reliance upon groundwater is also evident for rural and

industrial uses.


B. Growth Considerations


1. Population Projections


The number of people living in Florida has grown

dramatically over the past decade and is expected to continue to

grow at a rate which will affect not only the amount of water

needed to support them but also the quality of water which is

available to them. It is expected that those people entering the

state over the next quarter century will concentrate in the

coastal counties. These are the areas which are the most over-

extended with respect to the state's water supply and are also

the most susceptible to saltwater intrusion due to over-pumpage.

The increase in population will dramatically effect

water needs; the House Advisory Committee on the Future (1982)

estimates that for every 1,000 new residents, a total of 125,000

more gallons of water will be consumed each day. The Treasure

Coast Regional Planning Council (Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin

and Palm Beach Counties) estimates that the population growth

expected in these areas alone over the next five years will

result in a need for 19 million more gallons per day of drinking

water and in the production of 14.6 million more gallons of

sewage.


-37-








Changes in the population projections may be

examined as they affect the state's five water management

districts. The water management districts are charged with the

responsibility to regulate, protect, investigate and permit the

reasonable and beneficial use of water and, additionally, to

provide flood control. The Department of Environmental

Regulation is charged with the responsibility to protect water

quality by enforcement, regulation and rule setting standards.

The Department may delegate certain responsibilities to the

districts.


The Northwest Florida Water Management District is

expected to grow by approximately 375,000 additional people by

2010, for an increase of about 44 percent. The Suwannee River

Water Management District is projected to grow by 58 percent over

the same time period.


The St. Johns River Water Management District is

projected to have a population increase of over 1.4 million

persons by 2010, or a 60 percent increase. The Southwest Florida

Water Management District will grow by 64 percent. In fact, it

is estimated that Pinellas County population will exceed the one

million mark and that Hillsborough County will rise from 661,243

to 960,300 over the next 20 years.


Finally, the South Florida Water Management

District (Dade and Broward Counties) already contains more than


-38-








one million people and has a projected population increase of 65

percent for the next quarter century.


Over three-fourths of the state's current

population live in coastal counties those which have a boundary

on either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. All counties

of the state are expected to achieve some growth over the next

quarter century. Coastal Counties constitute 78 percent of the

current population today and even with the state's growth rate,

are predicted to contain 78 percent in 2010.


Nowhere is the need for water more evident than in

coastal counties, many of which already have not only the highest

population concentration but also the greatest water use pattern.

With the exception of some counties which require large amounts

of water for agriculture or phosphate (notably Polk, Orange and

Hendry), counties withdrawing more than 200 million gallons per

day (mainly used for drinking water) are on the Coast. These

include Escambia, Volusia, Indian River, St. Lucie, Palm Beach,

Broward, Dade and Lee. Excluding Escambia and Dade which have a

30 and 48 percent growth rate, respectively, projected for 2010,

the growth predicted for the other counties ranges from 72 to 98

percent.


As these coastal population concentrations have

grown over time, water drawn from the Floridan and Biscayne

Aquifers has resulted in the intrusion of saltwater into their


-39-








wellfields. This, coupled with the contamination of surface

water bodies due to effluent discharge and the loss of marsh and

floodplain, has reduced the quality and quantity of water

available for consumption and has caused coastal counties to look

inland for new or additional freshwater supplies to meet the

needs of their growing populations.


2. Industrial Growth Trends


As the population in the Southeastern states grows

over the next quarter century, it will be accompanied by

industrial expansion. Industrial earnings grew by 43 percent in

the Southeast from 1969 to 1978 and are expected to grow more

rapidly (209 percent) than the national rate (167 percent)

between 1978 and 2010. Three areas in particular (manufacturing,

mining and agriculture) are predicted to grow at a more rapid

rate than expected for the nation. Agricultural earnings are

growing particularly rapidly in Tennessee, Florida and Georgia,

as is the use of irrigation for agriculture, a factor which-will

affect water resources in these states.


Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee are

predicted to have large concentrations of the pulp and paper,

food processing, and stone, clay and glass manufacturing

industries. Other industries with predicted rapid growth rates

include textiles and primary metals.


-40-






C. History of Water Management


The dominant theme in water management until recent

times in Florida was one of drainage and land reclamation. In

1850, Congress passed the Swamplands Act which granted to states

all federal land which was "unfit for cultivation due to its

swampy or overflowed condition." Some 20 million acres came into

Florida's possession as a result. The Act decreed that all

proceeds from the sale of this land be used exclusively to

finance drainage works to reclaim the swamps. The Florida Board

of Internal Improvement was created in 1851 to administer the

surveying, selling and draining of land. The Internal

Improvement Fund was created in 1855.


In 1881, four million acres of land were sold to

Hamilton Disston, a Philadelphia industrialist, for one million

dollars on the condition that he drain the land to attract

agricultural development. Disston dredged the Caloosahatchee

River between Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers and made the *

Kissimmee River more navigable, opening the basin to steamboat

traffic. Subsequent state and federal legislation further

encouraged drainage for agricultural and residential development

of the state whose land was at the time half wetlands covered

with water. The drainage of Swamps and Overflowed Lands Act of

1893 allowed county commissions to provide drainage "when

conducive to the public health, safety or welfare."


The Drainage by Counties Act of 1901 enabled land

owners to present Boards of County Commissioners with petitions


-41-








requesting drainage in specific areas. Upon approval, local

governments could build ditches, dams and canals, issue bonds for

construction and tax for maintenance, enlargement and repair of

works. In 1905, a Board of Drainage Commissioners was created to

oversee drainage in the state. The General Drainage Act of 1913

(Ch. 298, F.S.), enabled single-purpose drainage districts to be

established by special act of the state legislature or by decree

of the circuit court. Drainage districts have extensive powers

to tax, construct, acquire needed land, condemn land for right of

way and expand existing structures. Over 200 such special

districts exist today.


To reclaim the Everglades muck soil for farming, the

Everglades Drainage District was created in 1907. Between 1907

and 1929, the District spent almost 18 million dollars and built

440 miles of canals and levees, cutting waterways from Lake

Okeechobee through the Everglades to the ocean. The Everglades

agricultural area south of Lake Okeechobee was quickly settled as

drainage works progressed, enabling the rich muck soil to be-

cultivated. Floods and hurricanes in 1926 and 1928 caused the

loss of over 2,000 lives and considerable destruction south of

the Lake. The inadequacy of the drainage works led to increased

flood control efforts, including the creation of the Lake

Okeechobee Flood Control District in 1929. Meanwhile, land

speculation and development, in general, led to ever-increasing ..

pressure for drainage.


-42-








During the dry spells and droughts throughout the

1930's and 1940's, flood control structures allowed water to flow

directly into the ocean. The muck soils of the Everglades,

susceptible to fire, began to dry out and thousands of acres

burned. Soil subsidence, due to biochemical oxidation after

soils were drained, reduced the depths of muck soils from 12 or

14 feet in 1912 to 7 or 8 feet by 1940. Ecological changes in

the Everglades brought about by the declining water table

resulted in a loss of muck soil and a drop in alligator

population and habitat. Saltwater intrusion into the wells of

newly populated cities along the Southeast coast created

additional problems.


In 1947 and again in 1949, the southern part of the

State experienced hurricanes and heavy flooding. In 1948

Congress passed the Flood Control Act and in 1949 the Florida

Legislature created the Central and South Florida Flood Control

District (C&SFFCD) as a multi-purpose district responsible for

flood control, water conservation, prevention of saltwater

intrusion, improvement of navigation, recreational development

and preservation of fish and wildlife. C&SFFCD took over the

assets and liabilities of the Everglades Drainage District in

1955 and eventually became the South Florida Water Management

District in 1977. Flooding in the Tampa area in 1959 and 1960

resulted in the 1961 creation of the Southwest Water Management '-

District by the Florida Legislature.


-43-








In 1955 the Florida Legislature created the Florida

Water Resources Study Commission whose reports led to creation of

the Department of Water Resources as a division within the State

Board of Conservation. The Department concerned itself with

problems of saltwater intrusion and over-withdrawal of water by

issuing permits and initiating conservation activities. During

the 1960's other state activities included expansion of the

Suwannee River Authority established in 1959; the 1961

establishment of the Florida Canal Authority; authorization of

the State Board of Conservation in 1963 to establish a saltwater

barrier line; and formation of the Southeast Basin Resource

Advisory Board with Alabama and Georgia in 1963 to continue

recommendations to the U. S. Study Commission established in

1957.


By the end of the 1960's many steps had been taken

towards the establishment of a water management structure in

Florida, but it was quite clear that water resource problems were

increasing. Florida, by this time, was in another major growth

period and water quality and quantity problems were occurring

everywhere. This was particularly true in southern Florida where

development was the most intense: saltwater intrusion problems

continued, water shortages were occurring in the lower east coast

urban area, destruction of wetlands and other wildlife habitat

was increasing and water quality was deteriorating. In 1971,

following the worst drought in south Florida since rainfall


-44-








records were initiated in 1911, a Task Force on Resource

Management established by the Governor proposed four major pieces

of environmental legislation which were subsequently enacted by

the 1972 Legislature: the Environmental Land and Water

Management Act which established the Development of Regional

Impact and area of Critical State Concern Programs; the

Comprehensive Planning Act which established the State

Comprehensive Plan and the Division of State Planning within the

Department of Administration; the Land Conservation Act which

formulated the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program; and the

Water Resources Act.


The Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter 373, F.S.)

represents the first successful attempt in Florida to develop a

comprehensive planning and regulatory program for all phases of

water management in the state. Prior to this time, water

resource legislation and management in Florida had been

essentially reactive as various problems and emergencies arose.

The Act has received national recognition and was cited as a-

model statute by the National Water Commission in its report to

the President in 1972. The Act, with later amendments,

establishes five water management districts throughout the state

with boundaries which are, for the most part, drawn along surface

drainage hydrogeologic boundaries. Each district is governed by

a nine-member board appointed by the Governor and is given


-45-








authority to regulate the proper use of water, as well as the

power to levy ad valorem taxes.


Still, problems persisted in response to an

environmental regulatory structure which appeared to create

confusion, unnecessary duplication and lack of accountability.

The Legislature enacted, in 1975, the Environmental

Reorganization Act to centralize the administration of the

state's environmental programs including water resource

management in a newly created Department of Environmental

Regulation. However, to facilitate the administration of the

Department's water management functions and to implement the

expressed intent of the Legislature for "delegation of

substantial decision-making authority to the district level," the

Act mandated the establishment of Department environmental

districts to be "colocated with water management districts to the

maximum extent practicable" and provided that certain Department

functions could be delegated to water management districts where

appropriate.


The 1975 Act has, as its goal, centralizing most of the

state environmental regulatory functions in a single agency. The

Department of Environmental Regulation is the principal state

permitting and enforcement agency for environmental protection,

including all water quality activities. The Department exercises

its power and responsibility to protect the quality of the waters

of the state primarily through the regulation of sources of water


-46-








pollution pursuant to the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control

Act (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes). Although the Water

Resources Act (Chapter 373, Florida Statutes) also gives the

Department a supervisory role in the proper utilization and

management of the quantity of the state's water resources, most

of these functions are performed entirely by the water management

districts.


-47-








V. ISSUES


In addressing the charge, the Task Force considered the

mechanisms which are currently in place to manage and protect

Florida's water resources over the next twenty-five years. The

existing organizational structure was reviewed, especially that

of the water management districts and the Department of

Environmental Regulation. Of particular concern was the extent

to which delegation of responsibility and authority should be

made from the Department to these districts, and the adequacy of

the existing organizational structure to meet the demands of this.

state's growth.


The Task Force believes that hazardous waste is the single

most significant problem affecting this state's ability to

provide adequate amounts of safe water to its citizens and that,

without action, this state faces a major threat to its drinking

water supply. A similar, although less immediately dangerous

problem is posed by the proliferation of septic tanks, package

plants, and the disposal of industrial wastes.


The Task Force also determined that insufficient information

is available on the quality of our groundwater. Given the heavy

reliance on ground water for our drinking water supplies, it is

clear that we have a need for a systematic monitoring effort to

determine the extent to which groundwater contamination has

occurred and to pinpoint the source.


-48-








Florida's economy is dependent, at least in part, on

agriculture, and agriculture will continue to play an important

role in the state's future; agricultural earnings for Florida are

predicted to exceed the national average between 1978 and 2010.

Agriculture's success is heavily dependent upon pesticide use and

it is clear that Florida's fragile ecosystem requires safeguards

to insure that the pesticides which are used do not contaminate

the groundwater.


Acid rain has seriously affected lakes in the northeastern

United States. However, too little is known about the ecological.

effects of acid rain in Florida. More is known about free-

flowing or abandoned artesian wells, which pose the threat of

contamination, as well as the loss of groundwater through free-

flowing discharge.


The funding levels of the Department of Environmental

Regulation and the water management districts were reviewed to

determine their ability to meet current statutory obligations.

Given the responsibilities of both, the effect of federal

cutbacks and the serious nature of some of the water quality

problems, the funding level is clearly insufficient.


Finally, in view of the importance of protecting our

drinking water supply which comes almost exclusively from

groundwater, the development of a groundwater protection strategy-

was considered by the Task Force.


-49-








A. Hazardous Waste


The Task Force believes that the potential contamination

of groundwater by hazardous waste is the single most urgent issue

which must be addressed by the Legislature in protecting the

water resources of the State of Florida. Given that groundwater

constitutes about 90 percent of the state's drinking water

supply, the serious deficiencies which exist in the current

hazardous waste regulatory, management and cleanup program pose a

major threat to the public health of the citizens of this state.


The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

estimates that more than 48,000 chemicals are used commercially

in this country and that about 1,000 new ones are introduced each

year. Of these, 1,500 have been found to be carcinogens. Many

of these chemical produce hazardous waste byproducts. EPA

presently lists about 350 substances considered to be hazardous

wastes. Generators in Florida are producing hundreds of

thousands of tons of hazardous waste each year.


Existing uncontrolled hazardous waste sites pose a

serious danger to both public health and Florida's water

resources. Approximately 57 million metric tons of hazardous

waste were generated in this country in 1980. EPA estimates that

approximately 85 percent of this waste was disposed of in an

environmentally unsafe manner. Over 200 uncontrolled hazardous --

waste sites in Florida have already been identified and this is


-50-








probably not a complete listing. Typically, cleanup costs for

such sites identified as dangerous average millions of dollars.

Only twenty-five of these Florida sites have been identified by

EPA as having top priority for cleanup under the federal $1.6

billion Superfund program which is designed to clean up the 418

worst hazardous waste sites in the country. Superfund money is

available on a 10 percent match for private sites and a 50

percent match for public sites. However, the Hazardous Waste

Management Trust Fund, established to fund these cleanup from an

excise tax imposed on hazardous waste generators, does not

currently generate sufficient revenue to even pay for the cost of

collection by the Department of Revenue. Although this tax is

currently producing only thousands per year, it is estimated that

several million dollars would be collected if all hazardous waste

generators in the state were properly identified.


In addition to these uncontrolled hazardous waste sites,

there are many other likely existing sources of potential

contamination by hazardous waste. There are over 40,000

underground storage and gasoline tanks in the state. The

generally acidic nature of Florida's soil and occasional

saltwater intrusion contribute to the rapid deterioration of

these tanks, especially when buried in the water table. It is

believed that large quantities of hazardous waste are finding

their way into public sewers, landfills, and unauthorized dump ..

sites from generators and users who deal in small quantities of


-51-








these materials. It is also believed that large numbers of

pesticide containers have been improperly disposed since disposal

methods recommended by the pesticide manufacturer often conflict

with local ordinances.


Current generators of hazardous waste consider it

economical to reuse in secondary markets or dispose on-site of

only one-third of the waste being generated. The remaining two-

thirds of Florida's hazardous waste receives some type of off-

site treatment or disposal. The only available off-site

permitted treatment disposal facilities are located out of state.

Landfill disposal costs at the nearest permitted disposal site in

Alabama are approximately $300-400 per ton or $70-$80 per 55

gallon drum with transportation representing 70 percent of this

cost. Given the difficulty of enforcing hazardous waste disposal

laws, these costs in some cases encourage smaller size,

marginally profitable generators to engage in illegal or

environmentally unsound dumping practices.


Hazardous waste management facilities include both

landfill disposal sites and treatment facilities that incinerate,

neutralize, solidify, or consolidate for reshipment. Due to

Florida's high water table and high soil permeability, disposal

of hazardous waste in landfills is probably not an

environmentally sound practice. Consequently, appropriate in-

state hazardous waste management facilities include only the

treatment options. In the near future, Florida will remain


-52-








dependent upon out-of-state disposal. Therefore, consolidation

and reshipment facilities will best serve the immediate needs of

many of Florida's hazardous waste generators. In the long run,

facilities that treat wastes in a way that renders them non-

hazardous or reduces volume must be developed. These facilities,

however, are costly to build and require long periods of time to

plan, permit and construct.


The current statutory citing process significantly

hinders the development of hazardous waste treatment facilities.

This process provides local governments through their

corresponding regional planning council with the power to

prohibit facilities from being sited within their jurisdictions.

In the event that a local government rejects a request to site a

facility that the Department of Environmental Regulation has

determined meets appropriate environmental standards, the

developer may petition the Governor and Cabinet for a variance to

the local government decision, but only if the appropriate

regional planning council, by a two-thirds majority vote,

recommends such a petition.


The Department of Environmental Regulation is the

principal regulatory body charged with providing the state with a

comprehensive hazardous waste management program. However the

funding is clearly inadequate to implement and enforce even

existing hazardous waste laws and necessary cleanup. The

Department has only 6 field inspectors statewide for hazardous


-53-








waste activities and few local governments have a meaningful

program.


Although some communities in Florida have attempted to

deal with hazardous waste problems on their own, no coordinated

local government role has been established. Hazardous waste

problems occur throughout Florida and the Department's program is

not sufficiently staffed and funded to deal with these problems

effectively, particularly at the local level.


Local governments could play an important role in

identifying all hazardous waste generators, implementing

policies, complementing the regulatory activities of the

Department and determining the needs of generators in their areas

in order to promote responsible management.


Increased identification of generators and levels of

compliance would, in turn, increase revenues collected from*the

excise tax on hazardous waste generators. A portion of the tax,

if distributed to local government, could be used in developing

and implementing local hazardous waste programs that complement

the federal and state programs.


-54-








Recommendations


1. Funding is grossly inadequate for the proper regulation,

management, and clean-up of hazardous waste in this state. The

Department of Environmental Regulation should submit a plan of

action to the Legislature to insure the identification and clean-

up of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites as well as a request for

sufficient funds and staff to enable the Department to safeguard

the public's health and environment from hazardous waste.


2. The current siting process impedes the construction of

needed hazardous waste treatment facilities. The Legislature

should require that any areas designated for industrial use in

local government comprehensive plans also be designated as

appropriate for hazardous waste sites.


3. A complete survey of hazardous waste generators has not

been conducted and the current excise tax on generators is *

producing only a small percentage of the revenues which would be

possible if all generators were being taxed. The Departmentof

Environmental Regulation should submit a program to the

Legislature for the identification of such generators and

implementation of local programs by local governments in return

for an appropriate percentage of the excise tax going to the

local government.


-55-








B. Non-Hazardous Waste


1. Septic Tanks


Man has discharged his biological wastes into

surface waters or the ground since the beginning of time.

However, there is growing concern over the effects of viruses

which can enter the drinking water supplies from sewage which is

treated to remove bacteria but not the viruses.


Presently, approximately seventy percent of the

population in this country is served by sewer systems; the

remaining thirty percent use on-site land disposal methods such

as septic tanks, cesspools, priveys and other individual sewage

disposal facilities. These disposal methods are responsible for

an estimated 3.5 billion gallons of seepage daily into the

subsurface environment The number and the density of such on-

site land disposal mechanisms as septic tanks has grown as an

increasing number of citizens have made this state their home.


In Florida, it is estimated that forty percent of

the population uses individual waste disposal facilities such as

septic tanks, and that at least 50,000 are being installed each

year. The maximum number of septic tanks per acre has

dramatically increased in the past 8 years from one to as many as

sixteen. Yet, there is no systematic monitoring of septic tank

leachate and its possible effects on public health.


-56-








Under certain conditions, septic tanks allow active

viruses to enter the groundwater, and if they are present in

drinking water supplies these viruses can pose a public health

threat. Virus removal from sewage occurs mainly through

adsorption; different types of soil produce varying rates of

adsorption. Florida's sandy, siliceous soil adsorbs only about

28 percent of the viruses introduced in laboratory experiments.

Even sandy, loam soil adsorbs only about one-half of the viruses

experimentally introduced;


Unfortunately, virus adsorption to soil particles

does not necessarily result in virus inactivation or permanent

immobilization. Virus survival is highly dependent on

temperature, the water/soil ratio, and whether the virus is

within a solid.


Studies of the Epidemiological Research Center of

the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services have

conducted studies on viruses from sewage entering drinking water

supplies. The virological safety of septic tanks was called into

question during a 1975 investigation into the outbreak of

enterovirus disease and hepatitus in a migrant labor camp in

Homestead, Florida. It was determined that the water source for

the camp was provided from six wells, one of which was about 100

feet from a solid waste disposal area and the other five located

in the center of the area served by the camp's septic tanks. The

level of chlorination in the water was found to be sufficient to


-57-








produce bacteria-free water but the chlorination alone could not

inactivate the virus, which was probably solids-associated.


In addition to viral and bacterial pollution from

tanks, it has been determined that toxic chemicals resulting from

the use of septic tank cleaning solvents are also contaminating

shallow groundwaters.


Package plants are prefabricated systems of uniform

standardized design to serve areas that could not be easily and

economically connected to an existing regional sewage treatment

plant. Typically, these plants serve small establishments such

as residential subdivisions, hotels/motels, trailer parks,

restaurants, and recreation areas. There are at present

approximately 3,400 package plants in Florida with a design

capacity of 0.1 million gallons per day or less. They represent

about 80 percent of all sewage treatment plants in Florida.

Plants with design capacity of 2,000 to 24,000 gallons per day

constitute about 55 percent of all sewage treatment plants.


Since the design of package plants is based on sound

sanitary engineering principles, it is logical to assume that

they can be operated in an efficient and effective manner.

However, the realities of economics and availability of trained

manpower make this assumption questionable at best. Package

plants require daily attention by a knowledgeable and

conscientious operator. For plants serving small establishments


-58-








(2,000 to 25,000 gpd), it would be a severe economic burden to

hire a certified operator on a full-time basis. Based on this

reality, present rules require attention of such small plants by

a certified operator for only two hours per week and their

'maintenance' by such operators for two days per week.


A package plant, of any size, can be operated and

maintained, on a day-to-day basis, to produce a high quality

effluent to meet all regulatory requirements. However, a poorly

operated and maintained plant will not only fail to meet

regulatory standards but will also be offensive to the senses of

sight, sound and smell, and will pose a serious threat to public

health.


By their sheer number, package plants present a

problem in terms of permitting and compliance assurance. Since

the present rules require only 'grab' sampling of small plants on

an infrequent basis, it would be meaningless to use such data to

evaluate their compliance. Frequent sampling to insure adequate

and representative sampling, would be prohibitive in costs and

would probably be an unreasonable economic burden to the owners.

Reliability is a direct measure of time an operator spends on the

package plants and, therefore in theory is not affected by size.

However, since the required operator attention required by rule

decreases in direct proportion to size, the smaller plants are

less reliable than the larger ones.


-59-








There are more than six thousand sewage and

industrial waste treatment plants in the state. More than three-

fourths of them are small plants with localized environmental

impacts, but several large sewage and industrial plants have

significant impacts on surface and groundwater quality.

Localized or not, industrial waste represents a significant

problem especially because of the large number of toxic

substances discharged to the environment. These toxics can

easily contaminate groundwater supplies and have been shown to

accumulate in aquatic food chain organisms posing a potential

threat to fish and shellfish resources. In addition to these

toxics, the nutrients discharged by the industry can cause water

quality problems in the receiving surface waters. Furthermore,

high concentrations of industry in areas such as unsewered

industrial parks can cause problems.


Because there is no systematic monitoring of septic

tanks, package plants, and industrial waste treatment facilities,

it is very difficult to determine precisely the amount of

leachate which occurs and consequently, the exact extent to which

these devices present a problem for the water supply. The Task

Force did conclude that these waste treatment devices present

such a significant potential threat that their actual impact on

groundwater and public health should be determined as quickly as

possible so that appropriate measures could be taken if the

threat is a real one. Furthermore, this pressing need is made


-60-








even more critical by the likelihood that recent massive cutbacks

at the federal level for the construction of municipal sewage

facilities will result in increasing reliance upon these smaller

alternatives to the disposal of wastes.


There is a huge backlog of demand for local

government sewage construction. Over $750-million has been

requested this year for the construction of publicly owned waste

water control facilities. It is estimated that similar needs

over the next 3 years will total approximately $1.3 billion.

Although Florida municipalities have received $1.2 billion in

federal construction grants for these facilities over the past

decade, these federal grants are being severely curtailed. While

the state received $130 million each year in 1980 and 1981, the

current federal allocation is about $80 million. In addition, it

is likely that the federal program will terminate in 1985.


These cutbacks have serious implications for the

ability of local governments to deliver adequate sewer

facilities. There are presently more than 120 sewer connection

moratoria imposed by the Department of Environmental Regulation

in local communities because of inadequate services to protect

the state's water resources. This number is almost certain to

increase in light of Florida's growth patterns and the high cost

of borrowing for capital improvements.


-61-








A significant amount of the land on Florida's sewage

treatment facilities is water which might be conserved. Even a

moderate reduction in the amounts of water used by homes and by

industries which use sewage treatment facilities would make a

significant difference in the number of gallons being treated by

these facilities. The Water Conservation Act of 1981 required

the installation of water efficient toilets, faucets, and shower

heads in all new buildings and certain renovations.


The City of Orlando has begun an extremely promising

voluntary program to retrofit existing homes with water saving

devices. A three month pilot project in sample neighborhoods

resulted in water savings of approximately 20 percent. If this

same success rate of voluntary retrofitting is experienced city-

wide, the net reduction in sewage flows would be approximately

2.4 million gallons per day and a savings of $10 million in

treatment plant construction costs.


Reuse of treated wastewater can also help to

alleviate this growing crisis. The cities of St. Petersburg and

Orlando are engaged in active programs to reuse treated

wastewater for irrigation, industrial cooling, and groundwater

recharge. Although they are politically unpopular, fiscal

measures such as utility taxes and impact or hookup fees can help

support the construction and protection of treatment facilities

as well as promote conservation by increasing the cost of water

supply and treatment. However, despite the potential benefit of


-62-








conservation measures in reducing the need for treatment, it is

clear that local governments will still be under severe pressure

to obtain funding for the construction of sewage treatment

facilities.


-63-








Recommendations


1. The Florida Statutes and rules should be amended to

reflect the following limitations on septic tank placement and

use:


a. a maximum of one septic tank per acre in areas which

have a water supply which is unfiltered or untreated;


b. a maximum of two septic tanks per acre in areas with

filtered and treated water;


c. a minimum of five feet of unsaturated soil below the

drainage field;


d. placement no closer than the following minimum

distances:


(1) 100 feet from surface water;


(2) 100 feet from a private well;


(3) 500 feet from a public well.


e. drainage installation in accordance with plans approved

by the Water Management District or County Engineer;


f. no new food service establishment, industry, laundromat

or other waste generator determined to be

inappropropriate for septic tanks should be hooked to a


-64-








septic tank, and those currently on septic tanks should

be placed on alternative methods of treatment by 1990;


g. septic tanks should not be used where a centralized

sewage treatment system is available;


h. percolation tests should not be conducted during periods

of dry weather as determined by DHRS;


i. residence should be defined as a single family dwelling;


j. provision for variance or waiver of these requirements

when it can be demonstrated that there will be no

adverse effect on the environment or public health.


2. There is an immediate need to study the short term and

long term effects of septic tanks on Florida's groundwater.

Therefore, the Legislature should fund DHRS's current request for

a contract with private industry, universities and the state to

do the following:


a. develop realistic formula for septic tank use which

takes into account the particular hydrogeological

composition of subsurface water and soils;


b. investigate new septic tank designs which meet the

unique needs of Florida's environment;


c. investigate alternative methods for sewage treatment in

environmentally sensitive areas;


-65-








d. identify contaminants which are released by septic tank

use, including microbiology and virology, chemicals and

organic pollutants.


3. DER should prohibit package plants below a capacity of

10,000 gallons per day in close proximity to residential areas.

The Department should establish, by rule, criteria for

determining close proximity; however, flexibility in the type of

treatment should be afforded to plants serving more isolated

establishments.


4. The Legislature should require that no new unsewered

industrial parks be platted and all existing industrial parks

which are unsewered should be retrofitted within a reasonable

time.


5. The Legislature should establish state-supported program

of financial assistance to local governments for the construction

of sewage treatment facilities. The program should be for a

limited period of 5 years, and should provide at least $50-

million for grants each year. The program should set aside a

sizeable portion each year to assist smaller communities in a

flexible support program where matching requirements may be

reduced or waived for these communities that cannot qualify under

the current funding system.


6. As well as saving water, conservation techniques play an

important role in the reduction of sewage treatment needs of


-66-








local governments. Criteria for grants issued under the state-

supported funding program should include appropriate water

conservation and reuse requirements.


-67-








C. Pesticides


Florida's climate has produced a successful agricultural

community which depends, in a large part for that success on the

use of pesticides to control the insects and fungi found in this

sub-tropical climate.


Pesticides are classified by the Federal Insecticide,

Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1975 (FIFRA) as one of two

types: general and restricted use. General use pesticides are

available without any proof of training or application skills on

the part of the user. Restricted use pesticides are those which

present a greater potential for harm to the environment and man

and which may be purchased and used only by individuals

possessing an appropriate license.


All pesticides must be registered with the Environmental

Protection Agency. Almost 10,000 brands of pesticides are *

currently registered for use in Florida. If requested by EPA,

data must be presented showing the extent of use, pattern of use,

level and degree of potential exposure to man and the

environment, the composition and a full description of the tests

which were conducted and the results of these tests. EPA's

capability to independently test these products is limited and

the agency relies, in large part, upon the data submitted by the

manufacturer. EPA's tests seldom take into consideration those ..

special soil and aquifer conditions which exist in Florida.


-68-


I







The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

(DACS) has primary responsibility in Florida to enforce state and

federal standards in the use of pesticides. This includes the

registration, inspection and regulation of pesticides and the

licensure and regulation of restricted use pesticide applicators.

The Department also samples pesticide residues on food produced

in Florida or transported into Florida to assure conformance with

specified minimum levels to insure public health safety. There

are four field inspectors.who conduct such sampling throughout

the state. There efforts are limited to measuring pesticide

residues on food products, rather than pesticide levels in the

grounder surface waters in areas in which pesticides are used.


The Task Force believes that a serious lack of attention

has been given to the possible impact of pesticide use on the

groundwater of this state. Testimony to the Task Force indicated

that neither the EPA nor DACS does any significant testing prior

to licensure for the threat that a given proposed pesticide might

pose in an area possessing the soil, hydrogeologic, and climatic

conditions found in Florida. In fact, it is apparent that both

federal and state agencies regulating pesticides rely primarily

on the data and testing supplied by the manufacturer. There is

no systematic monitoring of groundwater in this state for

pesticide levels even in areas of heavy pesticide use. In

addition, the monitoring which is done by the Department of

Environmental Regulation (DER) is costly and time consuming due


-69-








to the need to properly obtain and test uncontaminated samples.

Furthermore, it is questionable that DER, which is charged with

the responsibility to protect the state's groundwater could

regulate the use of pesticides under current law even under

circumstances in which such use represented a threat to the

safety of the groundwater.


The lack of adequate monitoring data has made it

difficult to determine the full impact of pesticides use

groundwater throughout the state. However, it is clear that once

contamination of the groundwater does occur, it can be very

serious. For almost three years, residents of Long Island, New

York have been unable to use about 2,500 wells for drinking water

after the contamination of the groundwater by the pesticide

Temik. This pesticide has recently been discovered in the

groundwater in certain citrus-growing areas of Florida at levels

above those considered safe for drinking. The recent discovery

of Temik in drinking water near a citrus grove led the Secretary

of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to

temporarily suspend the use of Temik until further studies

determined the extent of the contamination. It is imperative

that Florida takes step to insure that pesticide contamination of

the groundwater which has occurred in other parts of the country

does not happen in this State.


-70-








Recommendations


1. There is an urgent need for adequate monitoring and data

to evaluate the impact of pesticides on groundwater. The

Department of Environmental Regulation and Water Management

Disticts must begin an immediate systematic program of such data

collection, especially in areas where the quantity or toxicity of

pesticides in use pose a particular threat.


2. No governmental entity presently systematically

evaluates the possible impact of pesticides on the particular

groundwater conditions in Florida. The Department of

Environmental Regulation should determine those cases in which

there is evidence to impose additional restrictions on pesticide

use to protect the groundwater and the Department should be given

express statutory authority to regulate pesticide use to prevent

pollution of the state's water resources. This authority should

include the requirement for joint approval between the Department

of Environmental Regulation and the Department of Agriculture and

Consumer Services on all restricted pesticides used in Florida.


3. Federal and state agencies rely primarily on data and

testing supplied by pesticide manufacturers. The Legislature

should require pesticide manufacturers to certify their products

as safe for use in Florida.


-71-








D. Abandoned Artesian Wells


In many parts of Florida, but predominantly in the

southwest coastal area, there are approximately 25,000 free-

flowing artesian wells which were drilled between 1900 and 1950

for irrigation, stock watering or mosquito control.


The practice was to drill large diameter holes through

the many different aquifer systems until enough had been

penetrated to provide adequate free-flowing water. The holes

were usually cased with iron pipe and may or may not have had any

control valves placed upon them. The aquifers which these

penetrated were of varying chemical water quality. Some zones

contained high quality water whereas others had high

concentrations of iron, sulphur, chlorides, nitrates and

fluorides. Over time, the poor quality water had destroyed the

well casing in all or part. Most of these wells have since been

abandoned and left unchecked.


The Task Force strongly believes these wells represent a

serious problem. First, there are no controls on the free-

flowing discharge and it is estimated that these wells are

discharging approximately one billion gallons of water per day.

Secondly, zones of the aquifer containing good quality

groundwater are being contaminated by water flowing in these

deteriorating wells from other zones of the aquifer containing

contaminated water.


-72-








Because of the problem of interzonal contamination, a

simple cap on the well generally is not sufficient to correct the

problem. Usually a zone specific concrete plug is required. The

process of getting to a site, logging a well and placing a plug

or plugs is time consuming and expensive. The South Florida,

Southwest Florida and St. Johns River Water Management Districts

have programs to inventory these wells, identify the most

critical ones needing repair, and plug them as time and money

permit. However, thousands of wells need to be plugged and the

districts have only been plugging 10 to 30 wells per year.

Districts estimate the cost of plugging at between $2,200 and

$5,000 per well, depending on diameter and depth.


Current law permits the districts or the department to

order such wells plugged in most cases. If the owner refuses, he

is subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each day of the

violation or the district or department can plug the well and

place a lien against the property to recover its costs. However,

neither the department nor the districts have carried out this

program in an aggressive manner, due in part to the difficulties

and costs involved in locating and identifying these wells.


-73-







Recommendations


Free-flowing artesian wells are an urgent problem which are

wasting billions of gallons of water each year and pose an

immediate potential threat of contaminating groundwater drinking

supplies. The Legislature should require each water management

district to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental

Regulation by January 1, 1984 which would contemplate the

identification and capping of all free-flowing artesian wells in

each district prior to January 1, 1989.


-74-







E. Organization


1. Department of Environmental Regulation and Water

Management Districts


Since its creation in 1975, the Department of

Environmental Regulation has been the major environmental control

agency in Florida. The Department is the lead state agency for

air quality, dredge and fill, resource recovery, coastal

management and water quality and quantity programs. It has water

quality permitting jurisdiction to prevent pollution in both

surface and groundwater. It is also the primary regulatory

agency for other activities affecting water resources such as

power plant and transmission line siting, the disposal of solid

waste, and public water systems. The Department also has

permitting authority in a number of areas relating to water use

such as consumptive use permitting, regulation of wells, and

management and storage of surface water. However, the Department

has delegated the responsibilities relating primarily to

protecting the quantity of the state's water resources to the-

five regional water management districts consistent with the

Legislature's intent that the Department delegate appropriate

powers to the greatest extent practicable.


The water management districts are identifying

programs under other statutes which should also be delegated.

The Department has recently delegated responsibility to regulate


-75-







stormwater discharge to the South Florida Water Management

District. The Department is in the process of delegating water

well contractor licensing to the Northwest Florida Water

Management District, and the stormwater portions of the

Groundwater rule to the South Florida Water Management District.

The water management districts have expressed interest in a

number of other programs depending on their capability to

administer them. However, some of the water management districts

are operating under severe financial constraints which pose

problems for further delegations.

Where such delegations have been implemented thus

far, it appears that the programs have been assumed effectively

and successfully by the districts. Water resource problems

throughout the state vary greatly from region to region in terms

of their nature, magnitude, and complexity. As regional

entities, the water management districts appear better able to

respond to this regional diversity than does the Department at

the state level.


Although the Department of Environmental Regulation

and the five water management districts are responsible for the

major part of the protection and management of the state's

freshwater resources, a number of other agencies play roles in

certain regulatory programs affecting the state's water.


-76-





2. Federal Agencies

The Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over

all activities which affect navigable waters of the United

States. This includes all waterways connected to navigable

waters as well as inland and coastal shallows, marshes,

estuaries, and swamps.


The Environmental Protection Agency has regulatory

jurisdiction over public water systems under the Safe Drinking

Water Act as well as discharges of pollutants into waters of the

United States pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act

as amended by the Clean Water Act. The Resource Conservation and

Recovery Act gives the agency regulatory jurisdiction over solid

and hazardous waste, while the Toxic Control Act provides for

agency responsibility for chemicals which pose a risk to human

health or the environment.


3. State Agencies


The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

regulates the use of restricted pesticides by permitting and

licensing as well as the registration of all pesticides

distributed in the state.


The Department of Community Affairs administers the

Land and Water Management Act at the state level which includes

the development of regional impact and area of critical state

concern programs.


-77-







The Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has some

jurisdiction over water of the state whose-quality-or quantity--

affect wildlife or freshwater aquatic life.


The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services

(DHRS), in conjunction with county health departments, regulates

small water and sewer systems, including wells and septic tanks.

DHRS controls private and public water systems not covered by the

Florida Safe Drinking Water Act which is administered by the

Department of Environmental Regulation. Finally, DHRS licenses

and regulates the use of radioactive material in the state.


The Department of Natural Resources administers

regulatory programs for coastal construction, oil spills, mining

reclamation and Class II underground injection wells.


4. Regional Entities


Although the role of the regional water management

districts has been discussed, it should also be noted that the

Department of Environmental Regulation also has district offices

whose boundaries for the most part coincide with those of the

water management districts. These district offices process and

issue the majority of the permits administered by the Department,

including dredge and fill, sewage treatment facilities,

industrial discharges, solid waste landfills and hazardouswaste

facilities. Eleven independent regional planning councils review

local government comprehensive plans and development applications


-78-








in the development of regional impact process. There are slso a

number of special districts whose activities affect Florida's- ----

water resources, especially those with drainage programs such as

Water Control Districts, Mosquito Control Districts, and Soil and

Water Conservation Districts.


5. Local


In addition to zoning, building, and subdivision

regulations, local governments participate in a number of state

programs relating to water management. Both cities and counties

issue the development orders under the development of regional

impact process. Both must adopt local government comprehensive

plans which require them to plan for conservation, drainage,

sewer and water facilities, and land use. In addition, local

governments may operate local pollution control programs subject

to approval by the Department of Environmental Regulation.


Despite the wide number of agencies at various

levels of government which are involved in regulating the water

resources of the state, on the whole, the organizational

structure established in Florida to manage its water resources

appears to be satisfactory. The bulk of the regulatory programs

are centered in the Department of Environmental Regulation and

the water management districts. In those cases in which gaps

exist between programs, the existing statutory framework appears.

broad enough to close the gap under the present authority of the


-79-







agency. In most respects, the agencies appear to have done a

reasonable job of coordination through delegation, interagency

agreements, and informal working arrangements.


However, there are several areas which should be

addressed. Although the Department of Agriculture and Consumer

Services monitors the level of pesticides in crops, apparently

there is little effort to advise the Department of Environmental

Regulation when there may be a threat of pesticide contamination

to surface or groundwater. Furthermore, coordination has been

poor between the Department of Environmental Regulation and the

Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services when the threat

of contaminants in the groundwater poses risks for public

drinking water supplies. However, the agencies have begun to

meet regularly to develop programs to improve the coordination.


In general, although systematic monitoring systems

for the quantity of the state's water resources are relatively

numerous, monitoring for contamination of the quality of the

water, except for salt water intrusion, appears to be inadequate.

The Task Force could find no evidence of systematic and thorough

monitoring of solid waste sites, hazardous waste sites, septic

tanks, industrial waste sites, areas of intensive pesticide and

herbicide use, or other areas which would pose threats to the

groundwater, especially public drinking water supplies.

Furthermore, the small amount of data which are collected do not '-

appear to be pooled or shared in any systematic fashion.


-80-








Recommendations


1. In view of the generally satisfactory organizational

structure which has been established to protect and manage the

quality of the state's water resources, any comprehensive

reorganization with respect to water quality programs would

probably result in confusion, undermine existing vital programs,

and further delay the implementation of important future programs

currently under consideration.


2. All state, regional, and local agencies involved in

groundwater programs should develop written interagency

agreements of coordination allocating responsibilities and

designating lead agencies when threats or potential threats to

the state's groundwater are encountered, especially when public

drinking supplies are involved.


3. The Department of Environmental Regulation should

standardize data requirements, where necessary, to provide for

the pooling, in a central location, of all appropriate data-

relative to the state's water resources.


4. The Department of Environmental Regulation has already

delegated to the water management districts programs relating to

the consumptive use of water, management and storage of surface

waters, works of the district, well construction, drinking water

supply wells and stormwater regulation. The Department should

continue to delegate water quality programs to the Water


-81-







Management Districts and local governments as these entities have

the ability and financial resources to-assume responsibility for

these programs. However, the Department has ultimate statutory

responsibility for these activities and must continue a

supervisory role in such delegated programs.


5. To the greatest extent practical, staffs of district

offices of the Department of Environmental Regulation, the Water

Management Districts, the Regional Planning Councils, and the

Game and Freshwater Fish Commission should be co-located in one

building or location.


-82-








F. Water Management District Funding


In 1976 the voters of Florida ratified a constitutional

amendment to enable all five of the newly created water

management districts to assess ad valorem taxes. The amendment

provided a one mill taxing capability for four of the districts,

but limited the Northwest Florida Water Management District to

1/20 of one mill (.05 mill). In addition to these constitutional

limitations, the Legislature in the same year further restricted

the maximum millage rates for the districts to the following:


WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT MAXIMUM MILLAGE

Northwest Florida .05

St. Johns .375

South Florida .80

Suwannee .75

Southwest 1.0

Based on testimony to the Task Force and responses by

the Water Management District found in the Appendix, it is clear

that these limitations impose severe limitations on some of the

districts to carry out their statutory responsibilities. The

following table illustrates the maximum possible tax levies

available to each water management district under these

limitations:


The most severe limitation faces the Northwest Florida

Water Management District with only one-twentieth of the


-83-























WATER
MANAGEMENT
DISTRICT

Northwest Florida

Suwannee River

St. Johns River

Southwest Florida

South Florida


PROPERTY CONSTITUTIONAL MAXIMUM STATUTORY MAXIMUM
ASSESSMENT MILLAGE CONSTITUTIONAL, MILLAGE STATUTORY
(BILLIONS) CAP LEVY CAP LEVY

$11.5 0.05 $575,000 0.05 $757,000

$2 1.0 $2,000,000 0.75 $1i500,000

$40 1.0 $40,000,000 0.375 $15,000,000

$50 1.0 $50,000,000 1.0 $50,000.000

$117 1.0 $117,000,000 0.80 $93,600,000







capability of the other water management districts. This village

limitation provides just over-one-half million dollars annually

to handle the water management problems of North Florida. If

this district's constitutional millage cap were also set at 1.0

mils along with the other districts, its maximum constitutional

tax levy would be increased to $11.5 million.


Because of these severe millage limitations on the

Northwest Florida Water Management District, it has been forced

to rely primarily on federal grants and state appropriations from

general revenue funds. However, all federal grant programs under

which this district has received funds in the past have been

eliminated. If this cutback in federal funds is not offset by an

increase in state appropriations during the 1983 legislative

session, the District estimates that it must reduce the number of

its employees by one-third.


The Suwannee River Water Management District, on the

other hand, experiences a low level of funding because of its

relatively low tax base. Although it is permitted to tax a 1.0

mil under the constitution, its maximum levy at this millage rate

is only $2 million. This problem is compounded, however, by the

additional statutory restriction of .75 mil which further reduces

their maximum levy to $1.5 million.


Although the St. Johns River has an adequate tax base,

it is experiencing financial difficulties because of the


-84-








legislative millage limitation of .375 mils. Removing this

statutory limitation would permit the District a maximum tax levy

of $40 million as opposed to its current statutory maximum of $15

million.


The Task Force believes that the five water management

districts have responded well to the particular problems and

needs with respect to water management in each of their areas,

especially in light of the financial constraints imposed upon

them.


In addition to implementing most of the programs

originally mandated by their enabling legislation, additional

responsibilities have been mandated by the state through the

years. Yet the level of state general revenue appropriations to

the five districts had decreased from approximately $7 million in

1976 to about $2 million in 1981.


The Task Force has found there to be significant

problems and needs regarding water in all areas of the state.,

The water management districts play a critical role in the

protection of this precious resource and must have adequate

funding to carry out their responsibilities.


-85-







Recommendations


1. There is every reason to believe that water management

districts will be confronted by an array of increasing

responsibilities and programs to properly manage the waters of

this state. The Florida Constitution should be amended to

provide a 1.0 millage rate for all water management districts and

the Legislature should reexamine the current statutory millage

limitations placed upon the districts in light of their

increasing responsibilities.


-86-







G. Department of Environmental Regulation Funding


The budget for the operation of the Department of

Environmental Regulation (DER) for the current fiscal year is

$24.5 million, of which approximately eighty percent is funded by

state general revenues and the remainder by federal grants. The

Department has 744 authorized positions, and approximately ten

percent of them are vacant. This is due, in part, to the

required reduction necessitated by the recent shortfall in state

revenue. The Department has further been asked to submit a plan

for reducing expenditures another eight percent for each of the

next two fiscal years.


In addition, the average reduction in federal

environmental program grants proposed by the Office of Management

and Budget for 1984 is thirty-two percent. The Department

estimates that the proposed cuts in federal programs, totaling

$1.56 million, would result in the loss of forty or fifty

additional positions.


DER currently does not have sufficient funding to

adequately carry out its existing programs to protect the quality

of Florida's water. The impending cutbacks in federal grants and

shortfalls in state revenues would cripple its efforts even

further. There is every indication that demands upon the

Department to increase its efforts to protect the quality of our

water will be necessary. High priority must be given to the


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control of toxic substances which threaten the source of drinking

water for almost ninety percent of Florida's residents, but the-

resources for this endeavor are seriously deficient. There are

alarming indications that Florida's groundwaters are already

showing the effects of chemical contamination. Some 200

uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the state have been

identified and many types of toxic chemicals, from cleaning

solvents and pesticides to gasoline and diesel fuel, have been

found in our underground water supplies.


To meet this potential crisis, the Department of

Environmental Regulation has reallocated many of its existing

resources from other programs to work in protecting the

groundwater. Prior to this reallocation, the responsibility for

carrying out the state's groundwater sampling rested on one four-

person groundwater sampling team. Although 12 positions were

transferred from other duties to assist in this task, the

Department still does not have sufficient personnel to adequately

implement and enforce these critical groundwater protection and

hazardous waste control programs.


At the same time, these position transfers have strained

the Department's efforts in other existing environmental

programs. Department district offices in the rapidly growing

southern part of the state face serious problems which severely

strain available resources. In the Southeast Florida District

(Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Indian


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River Counties), an estimated 804 manhours or 7.6 positions are

needed to carry out adequate inspections,-permitting reviews, -- ---

training, and other activities for the hazardous waste facilities

in the District. One hundred and eighty sites have been

inspected and forty percent are in violation. Half of the 40

percent are in serious violation and need to be reinspected.

Hazardous waste facility permit applications, due in early 1983,

must be processed by qualified technical personnel. The district

now has four persons formally assigned to hazardous waste--two

career service and two temporary. But two to four more persons

are needed in hazardous waste to keep up with the workload.

Therefore, a domestic waste engineer and a groundwater

hydrologist will be assigned temporarily to the hazardous waste

program. This means domestic waste efforts will be reduced by

one-third. Some domestic waste permits may have to be issued

without inspection.


The situation in the South Florida District (Highlands,

Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry, Collier, Monroe Counties) is

similar. Positions are being split to keep up with workload

priorities, except that in this district, dredge and fill

permitting is the priority. Because of a vacant position in

dredge and fill, as well as a large workload, five persons are

informally splitting their time between dredge and fill and other

programs. These include two biologists from the biology

laboratory who are performing dredge and fill inspections. The


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biology lab supervisor, in addition to performing various

inspections besides dredge and fill, is filling in as branch

office manager in the Marathon office. An individual in solid

waste is working part time in dredge and fill when necessary. In

addition to these long-term needs, the Department must respond

quickly to an increasing number of short-term emergencies

involving a threat or actual contamination of the environment.

These incidents vary in magnitude from the discovery of a leaking

abandoned drum containing-hazardous waste to the derailment of a

freight train carrying toxic chemicals. Often when the

environment has been insulted, public health is endangered and

quick response is necessary.


The Department's present role in responding to such

incidents has been limited to providing technical assistance by

advising the responsible parties as to what should be done to

avoid a problem or how to contain or clean up the results of an

incident. Unfortunately, the parties often have neither the

funds nor the ability to obtain the resources necessary to

respond to the problem in a timely manner.


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Recommendations


1. The Legislature must give high priority to provide

adequate funding to the Department of Environmental Regulation

for the protection of Florida's water resources.


2. The Florida Congressional Delegation should be urged to

attemtp to preserve the federal environmental program grant

funds.


3. An emergency fund should be established to insure that

resources are immediately available to respond to incidents which

threaten the environment or public health when responsible

parties are unable to adequately respond.


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H. Groundwater Protection Strategy


Florida is highly dependent upon its groundwater. Over

90 percent of the state's drinking water is supplied from

groundwater sources and 20 percent of our citizens drink

untreated water from private wells. It constitutes 82 percent of

water used by industry in the state and 53 percent of irrigation

water. Groundwater is also the source for many surface water

streams and lakes.


The resource is highly vulnerable to groundwater

contamination because of the unique hydrogeological and climatic

features in Florida: thin soil cover; high water table; highly

porous and channelized limestone formation; high rainfall; and

high potential for saltwater intrusion.


This report has discussed some of the major threats to

the contamination of the quality of our groundwater:


1. More than 200 uncontrolled hazardous waste sites

have been discovered. This number will grow as

the department's ability to locate and

investigate such sites increases.


2. There are thousands of buried industrial storage

tanks and gasoline tanks that are susceptible to

corrosion and leakage into the groundwater.


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3. There are some 700 landfills and open dumps with

varying potentials for polluting the

groundwater.


4. There are over 6,000 surface impoundments in the

state; 1,300 of these are industrial and over 90

percent of these are unlined.


5. There are some 7,000 drainage wells discharging

water and wastewater directly into potable water

aquifers.


6. There are thousands of septic tanks installed in

what are probably unsuitable areas for septic

tank operation.


7. There are thousands of free-flowing abandoned

wells discharging saline or lower-quality water

into freshwater aquifers.


8. There are hundreds of thousands of agricultural

acres receiving large amounts of pesticides and

herbicides, sometimes in areas of high natural

recharge to potable aquifers. Many of these

chemicals are toxic to humans.


The recognition and protection of the groundwater has

lagged behind that of surface water. Groundwater is hidden from

sight and its contamination is evident only after the fact. The


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lack of visibility of contamination is reflected in the lack of

funding and a coherent strategy for groundwater management and

protection at the federal level. The State has historically

followed the federal government's example in providing virtually

no funds for groundwater protection. In view of the threats to

the groundwater quality, it is essential that this trend be

reversed immediately. The contamination of groundwater is

potentially more serious than that of surface water. The

dilution and movement of pollutants is retarded significantly

underground and little is known about the types of chemical

reactions which could occur in this environment in the absence of

conditions at the surface. Furthermore, once a groundwater

aquifer is contaminated, it is extremely difficult and costly to

clean up. In fact, in many cases, such clean-up technology does

not even exist.


In light of these facts, it is imperative that a high

priority be placed on the prevention of such contamination and

that a comprehensive groundwater protection strategy be developed

and implemented to insure the safety of the state's groundwater

resources.


The first component of such a strategy is the collection

and consolidation of adequate data. Although there appears to be

reasonably good cooperation between agencies, there is no

systematic statewide approach to the collection and sharing of

information. Millions of dollars are spent each year on


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groundwater research investigations and large quantities of

information-is generated and submitted to regulatory agencies as

a result of permit requirements. Most of this data has not been

centralized at a single location and it is difficult to utilize

it for any purpose other than its original one.


An adequate groundwater protection scheme must also

include adequate monitoring of the groundwater as well as other

conditions which may affect this resource. This includes both

sufficient sampling and testing to determine background levels in

groundwater, analyze trends in groundwater quality, and identify

both immediate and long-term threats to this resource and the

state's public health and environment.


In light of recent incidents involving the contamination

of drinking water supplies by highly toxic chemicals, it is

crucial that the safety of public drinking water supplies be

insured. There are currently 7 laboratories located throughout

the state and operated by the Department of Health and

Rehabilitative Services (DHRS) which perform microbiological-'

analysis of approximately 300,000 samples of drinking water per

year. Three of these laboratories conduct a further chemical

analysis required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on

about 31,000 samples per year for 43 parameters. However, DHRS

does not have the personnel, equipment, or funding to screen

drinking water samples for an expanded list of 129 priority

pollutants identified and listed by EPA.


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In addition, the state's program to protect the state's

drinking water appears to be-fragmented and coordination problems ----

were noted. Under the Florida Safe Water Drinking Water Act, the

Department of Environmental Regulation (DER) is responsible for

supervising the public water supply system, but it is primarily

(although not entirely) administered by DHRS and the county

health departments. In addition, DHRS has direct responsibility

for public and private wells not covered under the Florida Safe

Water Drinking Act. This-division of responsibilities between

DHRS and DER appears to unnecessarily fragment the task of

protecting the safety of Florida's drinking water.


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