February 2023, Volume 25, Issue 2

Thank you to our Newsletter Sponsors!

 Table of Contents

2023 Legislative Session Starts Next Week 

Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, March 7th!  FSA will be tracking legislation impacting water quality permitting programs, local government authority, and any bills that may impact your ability to protect water quality throughout the 60-day Session. Members can visit FSA’s Legislative Page to see which bills are being tracked and view the details for each bill.  The webpage is frequently updated with a list of FSA’s Priority Issues, Bill Tracking Reports, current news articles and information on individual bills.  It’s a resource that is available for FSA members only; you will need your username and password to login.

2023 Annual Conference – Join Us in Sanibel!

Registration opens Friday, March 3rd for FSA’s 2023 Annual Conference! Join stormwater professionals from around Florida this June 14-16, 2023, at the Sanibel Harbour Marriot Resort in beautiful Ft. Myers as we Celebrate 30 Years of Leadership in Stormwater Management. Sessions will be provided by industry-leading experts and thought leaders on regulatory and management topics that matter to you. If you only attend one event in 2023, this is the one you can't miss! Watch the FSA Annual Conference page for details as they are finalized. Members receive discounted rates and if you register early, you receive an additional discount. Be sure to register early to save your seat and to take advantage of early-bird discounts.

March Webinar - Still Time to Reserve Your Seat!

Join us on March 9th for FSA’s Adaptive Nutrient Source Identification Programs webinar. The webinar will review examples of adaptive nutrient source identification programs used to pinpoint pollutant source locations and maximize BMP investment. Learn how the deliberate targeting of water quality monitoring resources can maximize investment and provide water quality improvements. We'll explore adaptive nutrient source identification programs and how they use an array of data, including land cover, highly specific tracers, and innovative sampling design and analyses to pinpoint pollutant source locations. Register today to save your seat!

The webinar is brought to FSA members free of charge thanks to the sponsorship of 
Applied Sciences
Applied Sciences

Have You Tried FSA’s Stormwater BMP Life-Cycle Costing Tool?

Determining treatment effectiveness is an important part of project planning, design, grant funding, and ultimately achieving the most efficient investment of resources. However, there is no industry standard for how to go about doing this. While there are standards for BMP efficiencies, there is not an industry standard in Florida for determining life-cycle costing. With treatment effectiveness often being one consideration in water quality grants, the absence of an industry standard leads to unequitable comparisons between projects. Did you know that the Florida Stormwater Association Educational Foundation’s (FSAEF) recent research project developed a costing approach methodology and a BMP Life-Cycle Costing Tool to aide in the development of an industry standard for the state of Florida?  Visit the FSAEF Research page to find our more and download the tool today.

FSA & FSAEF Board of Directors Nominations Now Open

We need you! FSA is looking for dynamic leaders dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the Association. This is your chance to help lead the primary organization dedicated to furthering the stormwater management profession and water quality improvement programs in Florida.

What’s in it for you?

  • An opportunity to enhance the value and set the direction of FSA and FSAEF
  • A significant role in advancing your profession and water quality programs
  • Access to up-to-date information about the challenges facing your profession
  • The chance to exchange ideas and perspectives with other volunteer leaders

There will be elections to fill vacancies on the Boards of Directors of the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) and the FSA Educational Foundation (FSAEF) during this year’s Annual Conference. We want to hear from you! FSA needs your Leadership Nomination Form by June 1, 2023. Nominations received after the deadline, including nominations made from the floor at the Annual Membership Meeting, will be accepted, however, candidate details cannot be included in the upcoming Elections page.

Statewide Stormwater Rulemaking

On February 24, 2023 FDEP published a Notice of Proposed Rule in the Florida Administrative Register for proposed amendments to Chapter 62-330, FAC, (Environmental Resource Permitting) including the ERP Applicant’s Handbook Volume I. These revisions include revisions to update design requirements and minimum stormwater treatment performance standards that increase the removal of nutrients from stormwater discharges, and additional revisions to strengthen stormwater operation, maintenance, inspection and reporting regulations.

Due to the anticipated impact and increase in regulatory costs, the rule’s amendments will also require ratification by the Legislature. The rule ratification is expected during the 2023 Legislative Session and is a significant step in updating statewide stormwater design criteria. Please help us urge legislators to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to make these needed updates to improve water quality.

The most significant change in the rule is that specific nutrient reduction goals will apply for all projects. Presumptive design criteria, which were based on volume retention, have been eliminated and replaced with specific nutrient/pollutant load reduction requirements that must be verified through modeling/calculations. For all new projects, the required nutrient load reduction is the maximum of post-project load less than pre-project load, or a minimum 80% to 95% reduction, depending upon the classification of the receiving water.

This rulemaking process began three years ago when the Florida Legislature passed SB 712, the Clean Waterways Act, requiring FDEP and the WMDs to initiate rulemaking to update stormwater design criteria by January 2021. Since that time FDEP appointed a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of thirteen credentialed professionals representing a wide variety of stakeholders and interest groups, who were exceptionally familiar with stormwater permitting policy and practices throughout the State of Florida. The TAC met thirteen times identifying and outlining recommendations in a final Summary Report published by FDEP in March 2022. FDEP also held four rulemaking workshops from May to December 2022 focused on proposed changes to the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) Applicant’s Handbook Volume I. Visit FDEP’s Clean Waterways Act webpage to view recordings, comments from stakeholders, and draft revisions. FSA has been actively engaged in this process, providing feedback and comments every step of the way. Thank you to our many members who have contributed their time and energy in this process. FSA’s detailed comments on the rulemaking can be found on FSA’s Advocacy Page.

Blue-Green Algae Task Force Update

FDEP’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force met on February 1, 2023 reviewing the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control and discussing next steps for the Task Force. View the recording and South Florida Assessment and Action Plan presentation.    

Court of Appeals Requiring That More Be Done to Clean Florida’s Springs

The First District Court of Appeal of Florida ruled in favor of environmental groups on February 15, 2023, requiring the Department to take more action to clean several of Florida’s springs. The ruling stated that FDEP must be more specific in its Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), specifically how they will reduce nitrate pollution in the state's springs and waterways.

Pollution from nitrates is currently one of the biggest threats to the state’s freshwater springs. Environmentalists working to reduce nitrate pollution in Florida’s freshwater springs declared victory. The law requires FDEP to better allocate the pollutant load determining who is responsible for achieving the reductions necessary to achieve water quality goals.

The legal battle began in 2019, when environmental groups challenged the agency in court over its BMAP plans, claiming they were ineffective. However, a judge ruled in FDEP’s favor. The February 15th decision reverses the previous ruling.

WOTUS Rule – The Familiar Battle Continues

On January 18, 2023 a new rule defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) was published in the Federal Register. The final rule is generally based on the pre-2015 definitions and appears to be a middle ground between the 2015 “Clean Water Rule” and the 2020 “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” While the new rule seems to have a narrower application than that of the 2015 regulations, it does contain language for “significant nexus” and “relatively permanent” tests, which will be subject to interpretation by regulators. Waterbodies that meet either test will be jurisdictional and subject to EPA and Corps permitting requirements.

On the day the rule was published, a broad coalition of energy, agriculture and other industry groups filed lawsuits seeking to block and vacate the Rule. The separate lawsuits argue that the rule violates the Constitution, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. To date the rule is facing five legal challenges in three separate district courts.

Meanwhile the Biden administration is being urged to rescind the WOTUS rule before it takes effect in March arguing that the change will deepen legal uncertainty for property owners, especially if it conflicts with the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Sackett vs. EPA.

FSA continues to monitor WOTUS impacts on stormwater programs and keep members informed.

Grants for Wastewater Projects

Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $240 million through the Wastewater Grant Program to support thirty-six wastewater infrastructure projects aimed at reducing nutrients in Florida's waterways. The projects include upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities and the conversion of septic systems to sewer systems, which will eliminate nearly 20,000 septic tanks. The funds are provided through FDEP’s Wastewater Grant Program to support projects that construct, upgrade, or expand wastewater treatment facilities. The program was established in 2021 under the Clean Waterways Act and prioritizes projects in areas of need, such as rural areas, and requires at least a 50% match which may be waived by FDEP for rural areas. 

Fogarty Training Center – Does your Certification Expire in 2023?

Don’t let your FSA Stormwater Operator certification expire! The first opportunity to renew in 2023 will be through online webinars held on April 4, 2023. FSA Certifications must be renewed every five years. The Fogarty Training Center offers Online Recertification Webinars that provide a convenient, cost-effective way to renew your certification. Register today for Level 1 Recertification Course and/or Level 2 Recertification Course.

Not sure when your certification expires? Log in to your personal FSA profile, scroll down to find your Level 1 and/or Level 2 expiration year or you can view the Stormwater Operator Certification Renewal Date List

Stormwater Scholarships for Florida Graduate Students

The FSA Educational Foundation’s Scholarship Program awards financial assistance to qualified graduate students attending Florida colleges and universities whose educational interest is in stormwater research, management or finance. The Foundation will be awarding $2,000 scholarships in 2023. Applications are accepted annually from graduate 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 Form by August 11, 2023.  Please help us spread the word!

FSA Celebrates 30 Years!

What do Beanie Babies, Fidget Spinners, Pepsi Max, and FSA have in common? They were all introduced in 1993! Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) celebrates its 30th Year Anniversary and we couldn’t have done it without you. Since our start, FSA has grown to over 320 organizational members representing more than 4,400 individuals across the state of Florida. Thank you for being a part of our stormwater community! 

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