Monday, September 6, 2010

Everglades Phosphorus Standard Amended Determination

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directed the state of Florida to take specific measures to restore water quality to levels that protect the Everglades. This action, known as an “Amended Determination,” complies with a decision by the U.S. District Court – Southern District of Florida following lawsuits by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and the Friends of the Everglades. The District Court’s April 14 decision directed EPA to give clear and comprehensive instructions to Florida by September 3, 2010.

As required by the court’s decision, EPA has notified Florida that water quality standards for phosphorus are not being achieved in all parts of the Everglades and that further reductions of phosphorus pollution are needed in the area south of Lake Okeechobee.

EPA has identified a set of actions and milestones needed to meet clean water standards in the Everglades including an expansion of marsh treatment areas that treat phosphorus in the runoff water before it is released to the Everglades. There are currently about 60,000 acres of these marsh treatment systems already in place or under construction. EPA’s actions call for another 42,000 acres of treatment area.

The Amended Determination addresses several actions which the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District will need to take, including to amend existing permits for the discharges to the Everglades.

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