Gov. DeSantis signs updates to Florida stormwater regulations
Outstanding Florida Waters. Image via DEP.

Outstanding Florida Waters
The legislation codifies recommendations from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Developers in Florida will now need to comply with stricter stormwater regulations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation (SB 7040) updating environmental statutes with a number of standards recommended by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Many new standards don’t apply to a number of grandfathered projects that already had stormwater management plans approved by the state.

The legislation lays out practices for developers to demonstrate compliance with the law. Applicants seeking permits from the state must provide reasonable assurance through modeling, calculations and supporting documentation that satisfy the provisions of the revised rules.

Economists for the Florida House estimate revised rules under the Clean Waterways Act will add onto the cost of stormwater treatment in Florida, bumping up costs about $2,600 for developing every acre in land. That means a cumulative increase in costs of $1.2 billion over the next five years, based on current trends. That’s allowing for lower cost regulatory alternatives, according to an analysis by the Florida House.

The legislation sets new minimum performance standards, requiring that stormwater treatment systems be designed to achieve at least an 80% reduction of the average annual post-development total suspended solids load, or a 95% reduction if the proposed project is located within an area with a watershed that contains “Outstanding Florida Water” or one located upstream.

Projects near already-impaired waterways almost must abide by higher standards.

The new allows for alternative management plans crafted by environmental consultants registered with the state, but the management will be subject to regular inspections.

Any applications to construct new dams must account for downstream hazard potential in the event of structural or equipment failures.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Stuart Republican, and Rep. Linda Chaney, a St. Petersburg Republican, in their respective chambers. The bill never drew any dissenting votes in committee stops.

It passed in the Senate 37-0 and in the House 114-0.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


3 comments

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  • tom palmer

    June 30, 2024 at 4:19 pm

    Hope it is enforced properly. The cost cited in the article should have also included the even larger cost of cleanup projects in the absence of adequate stormwater regulations.

  • SuzyQ

    July 2, 2024 at 12:10 am

    Governor Ron DeSantis is not only America’s Governor but the most principled conservative leader in a generation and the most effective Florida governor ever. It is why we Floridians re-elected him to a 2nd term in the greatest landslide in the history of modern Florida politics.

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