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The Clean Waterways Act – How Could it Affect you?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Senate Bill 712 “The Clean Waterways Act” of the 2020 Florida legislative session requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to review and make changes to the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) especially related to water quality. It will also address some changes to the 10-2 rule, the certification of qualification to use a General Permit for a Stormwater Management System serving less than 10 acres total project area and less than two acres impervious surface. With regard to this rule, FDEP has found three basic areas of non-compliance:

              • Wrong permit type applied to the project
              • Area to be permitted is part of a larger development
              • Not enough information to verify adequate water quality treatment

FDEP is considering requiring the supporting data be uploaded and submitted 30 days prior to construction start, rather than within the 30 days prior to construction start. No final decision has been made yet.

There are many possibilities of where the new ERP rule will go. Some of the considerations are as follows:

    • Establishing set credits for low impact development infrastructure
    • Increase the removal requirements
    • Define items such as “net improvement”, “significant reduction,” etc.

FDEP has used two webinars to introduce the process to include history from 1970s forward. Discussion of presumptive rule based on set best management practices (BMPs) versus requiring monitoring and adjustments if not meeting removal rates. The draft Stormwater Quality Applicant Handbook of 2010 that never got adopted is being reviewed and will most likely have several of its parts included in the new rule. There have been advances since then, so it will not be the only work considered.

FDEP plans on publishing the start of rulemaking in December of this year, having a draft for consideration by third quarter of 2021, and have an adopted rule by 2022 or 2023. They are establishing a technical advisory committee now.

Johnson Engineering will continue to monitor the rule change progress and work with our clients to address them. For more information, contact Andy Tilton, PE at [email protected].