Florida Department of Environmental Protection

New federal limits for dangerous toxins linked to blue green algae in water where people swim, boat and fish could help Florida fight the dangerous blooms.

The recommended criteria is the first ever set by the Environmental Protection Agency for two common toxins found in algae caused by cyanobacteria and would need to be adopted by Florida. But environmentalists say there's a problem: the limits are double what was originally proposed in 2016.

Everglades National Park / Facebook

Overturning a decision by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, an appeals court Tuesday ordered the state to issue a permit to a major Broward County landowner that wants to drill an exploratory oil well in the Everglades.

During a presentation on nutrient loads caused by septic systems before the Florida Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government, Dr. Brian E. Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University, said septic tanks are a major factor behind a recent spike in harmful algal blooms. A problem that, in his opinion, is “the most important and urgent issue facing our state.”

Multiple wastewater spills have been confirmed in Northwest Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The latest one is in Gulf County where sewage spilled into the Apalachicola River.

WMFE

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is pumping another $4 million into efforts to help local communities suffering from red tide and a massive algae outbreak, raising spending to $13 million for the water problems.

The agency’s money will be used in Pinellas, Manatee, Collier, Sarasota, Lee and Martin counties.

Amy Green/WMFE

Cleanup rules are being waived for the removal of dead fish from areas of red tide in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. 

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection is applying to take over duties from the federal government related to protecting its wetlands. But some environmental advocates are hoping the agency will pump the breaks.

WQCS

A massive algae outbreak is spreading in the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida.

Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

Wrapping up work from the 2018 legislative session, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed 17 bills and vetoed one measure, which he said could “muddle” Florida’s efforts to protect its underground water system.

Sewage has been spilling into Fort Lauderdale’s streets, neighborhoods and waterways for more than three years now. Millions of gallons of waste on the roads and in canals are the product of old sewage pipes and cracked infrastructure. 

But at a regular City Commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners agreed to borrow $200 million  to start updating the areas with the worst pipes. 

 

For decades during the 20th Century, the City of Fort Myers dumped lime sludge—a byproduct of the water treatment processes—in Dunbar, a predominately black neighborhood near downtown. Last year, tests were done on the dumpsite and high arsenic levels were discovered. Tuesday, the city council was briefed on an assessment of the site and what options the city has. 

Chicken Processor Settles Water Pollution Suit

Nov 16, 2017
www.pilgrims.com

A major chicken processing plant that has been cited for polluting the Suwannee River settled a lawsuit on Wednesday that was brought by environmental groups in Florida.

Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection used ground penetrating radar on several plots of land in a predominantly black section of Fort Myers this week. For decades the City of Fort Myers used one of the plots to dump lime sludge, a by-product of water a treatment plant. That lot is being tested, along with nearby private properties and water wells, after residents found out and became concerned.

Animal Refuges Threatened By Flooding In Everglades

Jun 30, 2017
National Parks Conservation Association

Parts of Florida's Everglades are so waterlogged that deer, wading birds and other animals are running out of dry ground.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is looking into complaints about brown spots that are appearing on cars, boats, air conditioning units and other objects in a couple of cities.

Judge Won't Block Changes In Water Standards

Oct 12, 2016
Andreas Swensson / Flickr

An administrative law judge has refused to block the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from moving forward with new water-quality standards as legal battles continue over the controversial plan.


The state wants to increase the amount of toxins it can put in Florida’s surface waters. State officials said they’re doing this based on federal guidelines. But some people worry it could harm residents. 

It’s been nearly a year since a Miami-based family applied for a permit to build an exploratory oil-drilling well right on the fringes of the Everglades, outside of Miramar, generating an uproar in the community. 

Nevertheless, the Kanter family proceeded with the petition and it could be approved as early as late summer or early fall. 

Photo courtesy Brevard County

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says an algal bloom in the St. Lucie River near the southern part of the Indian River Lagoon is not toxic.

Lawmakers Sort Out Details Of Oil Spill Money

Oct 21, 2015
Associated Press

With billions of dollars coming to Florida in reparation for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a Senate panel Tuesday tried to get a better feel for how the money will be spent.

AP

Florida will begin a nationwide search to find the heads of two state agencies.

Gov. Rick Scott called for the search Tuesday after the Florida Senate didn't confirm Scott's picks for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The agencies report to both Scott and the three elected members of the Cabinet.

A lawyer for the state Florida Department of Environmental Protection says he was unfairly fired, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Chris Byrd says it’s because he wasn’t towing the line set by deputy secretary Jeff Littlejohn -- whom he accuses of selectively enforcing rules and regulations.  

Florida Current

Attorney Christopher T. Byrd says he was removed from his position as Department of Environmental Protection attorney because he worked hard to enforce DEP laws and gave legal advice that opposed the policy goals of the deputy secretary for regulatory programs, Jeff Littlejohn. Another DEP attorney was fired and two others were requested to resign as well, the Florida Current reports. 

Florida Current

An administrative law judge is backing a wetlands expert who was suspended after she objected to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to issue a permit for the Highlands Ranch project, the Florida Current reports.  

 

Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman, who has dogged the Dept. of Environmental Protection as it shed experienced hands and closed offices, now reports that a former developer has been masterminding the shake-up.