May 2023, Volume 25, Issue 5

Thank you to our Newsletter Sponsors!

 Table of Contents

2023 Florida Legislative Session - That's a Wrap! 

The 2023 Florida Legislative Session was full of many questions and concerns for Florida local governments. As outlined in the weekly FSA Priority Issues notice, and recently discussed during the FSA Florida Legislative Session Recap webinar local government preemption was a primary concern this session. Many proposed bills included limitations on comprehensive plan developments, limits on permit review times, to a full-on blockage of a local government adopting laws on water quality and quantity. FSA stayed active tracking bills, doing outreach to legislators to voice concerns, and providing information to members who were also doing outreach to their respective leaders.

At the end of the session, many of those concerning bills did not pass, although a late session addition did happen, one of great concern and issue for FSA members. During the late development of the budget implementation bill, and completed behind closed doors with no public participation, a line item was included that adopted a one-year ban on the adoption of any new local government fertilizer ordinance that includes a seasonal ban on fertilizer application. There was also an additional item to provide funding for the University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS) to conduct a study to review the effectiveness of fertilizer ordinances including seasonal bans. All to be completed before the start of the 2024 session. FSA along with the Florida League of Cities and Audubon Florida submitted a request to the Governor to veto this new item. FSA does not believe this ban was necessary and a study that could have significant impact to local government policy cannot be achieved in a 6-month time frame. FSA believes a study would be valuable, however, a study should be done in a manner that is appropriate in terms of time to research, having an unbiased group to lead the effort, and allow local governments that rely on these bans to participate in the research.

Did You Miss the FSA Legislative Recap? 

Did you miss the FSA 2023 Legislative Session recap? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Visit FSA’s webinar page to download the presentation and view the recording. The webinar examined what was introduced, what passed and failed in 2023, and what might be returning for 2024. Hear a review of legislative actions to preempt the regulatory authority of local governments, fertilizer ordinances, and many other bills. The webinar was brought to FSA members free of charge thanks to the sponsorship of Applied Sciences.

Statewide Stormwater Rule – Adopted But Not Effective

The Florida Statewide Stormwater Rule, initiated through the 2020 Clean Waterways Act, sets a framework for stormwater management and increased nutrient removal throughout the state of Florida. It applies to all public and private developments, including residential, commercial, industrial, and permitted agricultural facilities. The rule also strengthens operation and inspection requirements and outlines how to manage stormwater runoff from construction sites. The final draft rule was published with a Notice of Change on March 24, 2023, and was filed with the Department of State on April 28, 2023. The next step in the process is ratification by the legislature which has to be done before the rule will be effective given the statewide fiscal impact of the rule change. A bill for ratification of the stormwater rule did not happen during the 2023 Legislative Session. The final rule language will be adopted but not effective 20 days after filing, until it is ratified by the legislature in 2024. A workshop on the status of the Statewide Stormwater Rule is scheduled for FSA’s Annual Conference in June.

FSA continues to support the effort to strengthen stormwater design standards and criteria on a statewide basis. Standards that are more protective of water resources statewide will lessen the need for local governments to adopt their own (more stringent) standards and allow for regulatory consistency. We will continue to monitor this process closely and will keep you informed. We greatly appreciate our membership who provided input and support during this ongoing rulemaking effort.

Stormwater Needs Analysis Published 

Section 5 of HB 53 (2021 Legislative Session) requires all local governments with wastewater or stormwater management systems to create a 20-year needs analysis, including a description of the system, the number of future residents served, revenues and expenditures, maintenance costs, etc. The intent of the measure is to have a better understanding of Florida’s financial needs for water quality improvement and flood protection programs. Each city and special district were required to report their information to their county government by June 30, 2022 and the county was to compile the information received, add its own data and file summarized information for all jurisdictions in its area with the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) by July 31, 2022. EDR has compiled the results of the study and the 2023 Edition of the Annual Assessment of Florida’s Water Resources was released online earlier this month. View Chapter 5 for the Infrastructure Investments for Stormwater and Wastewater. Questions should be directed to EDR at [email protected]. A workshop on implementing HB 53 is scheduled for FSA’s Annual Conference in June.

PFAS Legislation Introduced

An ongoing problem facing many local governments that share duties with water and waste programs is PFAS pollution and remediation. On March 18, 2023, the EPA proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) for six PFAS compounds and is currently accepting comments on the proposed standards before becoming adopted and effective. In an effort led by Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), the Wyoming senator along with co-sponsors, proposed a set of bills that would provide a waiver of liability for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) actions. The liability protection covers five sectors (including agriculture, airports, and water facilities), all proposed as downstream receivers and not producers of PFAS compounds. These sectors would only be held liable if the release was done under a negligible act or misconduct. FSA will track this legislation and provide updates to members, as it may impact many who are addressing this issue at facilities and working on remediation to address the PFAS presence.

WOTUS Supreme Court Ruling

Judicial decisions continue to limit the implementation of the new WOTUS rule. A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit granted approval for Kentucky to block the implementation of the most recent WOTUS rule. With this ruling, Kentucky becomes the 27th state to block the implementation of the new WOTUS rule, going back to the pre-2015 version.

On May 25th, the U.S. Supreme Court established a more stringent test to determine whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to a wetland. In the long-standing Sackett v. EPA case the Supreme Court ruled that EPA had overstepped its authority in determining wetlands on the Sackett property and requiring remediation of construction impacts, which was a key component of the argument.  The decision greatly limits EPA’s authority on determining wetlands and requiring CWA permitting actions and could lead to significant changes to states implementation of wetlands permitting and 404 programs. FSA is monitoring this decision along with the implications to the most recent WOTUS rule, which has faced opposition since its release earlier this year.

Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Notification

FDEP will be extracting data from various database sources (Watershed Information Network (WIN), Florida STORET, the U.S. Geological Survey and Statewide Biological Database) to develop the Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Run 65 database. The IWR Run 65 will be used by FDEP as guidance for Strategic Monitoring Plans, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) data sufficiency, and Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) restoration efforts. Data should be submitted to the FDEP WIN database by June 15, 2023. For further information on this effort, including how to properly submit bioassessment data that can be used during the IWR process, please reach out to FDEP to coordinate, and have any questions answered. 

Blue-Green Algae Task Force Meeting

FDEP’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force met online on May 30, 2023. The meeting focused on presenting information to task force members on how DEP identifies nutrient sources for Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). You can view meeting details on the Blue Green Algae Task Force page.

FSA’s Annual Conference Reaches Capacity  

The FSA Annual Conference will be held June 14-16, 2023 and will be Celebrating 30 Years of Leadership in Stormwater. This year’s event features a number of presentations on current stormwater topics including a review of the 2023 Legislative Session and the impacts to water policy across the state, a look at the results from the 20-Year Statewide Stormwater Needs Analysis, solutions for restoration and resilience project funding, Green Stormwater Infrastructure considerations, and much more! Attendee registration is closed but there are still opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors to participate! If you are unable to join us in June, we hope that you will consider joining us for future events!  Mark your calendars now for FSA’s Fall Seminar on September 8, 2023 and the FSA Winter Conference to be held November 29 – December 1, 2023 both in Lake Buena Vista – stay tuned, details coming soon!

FSA Elections Coming Soon – Nomination Deadline is June 1st!

FSA is looking for dynamic leaders dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the Association. There will be elections to fill vacancies on the Boards of Directors of the Florida Stormwater Association and the FSA Educational Foundation during the Friday business meeting at the Annual Conference. This is your chance to help lead the primary organization dedicated to furthering the stormwater management profession and water quality improvement programs in Florida.

We want to hear from you! If you’re interested in serving, please send your recommendation to [email protected] or complete a leadership nomination today! Hurry, the deadline to submit candidate information is June 1st! After June 1st, nominations will only be accepted from the floor at the in-person membership meeting. View current nominations here.

Elections will occur at the Annual Membership Meetings of the FSA and FSA Educational Foundation, mark your calendar now! Meetings will occur on June 16, 2023, at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott from 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. We hope to see you there!

Join a FSA Committee in 2023!

Are you looking for a way to dip your toe into the world of volunteering with FSA? Joining a committee is a perfect place to start! Put your passion to work for FSA today.

Visit FSA’s Committee page to see current Committee members and be sure to complete a Request Form prior to June 23, 2023. Appointments to FSA's Committees will occur in July. Note that reappointment to a Committee is not automatic so submit your request today.

FSA Educational Foundation is Providing Scholarships!

The FSA Educational Foundation’s Scholarship Program awards financial assistance to qualified graduate students attending Florida colleges and universities.  Applications are accepted annually from graduate-level students in colleges or schools of engineering, natural science, public administration (or closely related fields) that have an interest in stormwater quality, management, or finance.  Qualified applicants should submit an Application along with supporting materials by August 11, 2023.


 We appreciate your feedback! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about FSA.