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water quality

Researchers examine a clear microplastic thread under the microscope
Kinsley McEachern

A recent joint study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Eckerd College found over four billion plankton-sized particles of plastic floating in the waters of Tampa Bay.

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to prevent sewage spills.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we talk about what communities are doing to keep from releasing sewage and other contaminants into our local waterways. Part of the problem comes from aging wastewater and stormwater systems. 


Florida’s legislative session has been underway for almost a month and there have already been some big changes.

We talk with reporters about key issues lawmakers are considering and how their actions could affect our lives on this week’s Florida Matters.


The Republican–controlled Legislature will be tasked with an unexpected job: deciding whether to allocate funds for environmental causes championed by the governor.

The environment wasn’t a priority under former Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, is taking a different approach - and raising eyebrows - as he seeks massive dollars to clean up the state’s water ways.

Now it's up to the Legislature to consider his funding request.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants $625 million dollars for environmental spending in the upcoming budget. DeSantis announced a plan Tuesday to fund more than 20 projects in the Everglades over the next five years.

Now that newly elected officials have been sworn in, local environmental groups have joined together to host an event to lay out policy that would help to eradicate Florida’s water quality woes.  

The group advising Governor-elect Ron Desantis on environmental issues met Monday for the first time. Members focused on water quality and supply.


Study: Boating And Swimming Can Make You Sick

Feb 1, 2018

A new study shows that boating and swimming can make you sick.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging lawmakers to put $50 million into repairs for Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover dike.

Emergency management officials will collect water samples to test for E.coli on Monday in the immediate neighborhood where a sinkhole swallowed two homes in Florida.

Activists are abandoning a federal challenge of Florida’s water quality standards after the Trump Administration refused to step in.

 UPDATED: Friday, June 30, 2017 at 10:36 AM 

CORRECTION: WGCU originally wrote, "Acquaviva did not return WGCU’s calls for comment," but it should read "call."

Lee County is once again looking for the chemical arsenic on Pine Island. That’s after documents surfaced from a few years ago showing arsenic levels hundreds and sometimes thousands of times higher than the federal government allows on private and public lands.

Experts say this could’ve potentially harmed island residents and wildlife within the surrounding estuaries. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, but state and federal health officials say if high levels are consumed, it can make people sick and cause cancer.

Public records show state environmental officials knew about the high arsenic levels but decided to stop testing for it in 2015.

Suzanne Young

A Senate committee in Tallahassee unanimously passed a bill that would set standards for how to swiftly notify the public about pollution. It’s an issue residents in the Tampa Bay Area have grown weary of. 


With a series of legal challenges still hanging fire, environmental groups are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject Florida’s controversial water quality standards.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson is insisting his department followed the book when it adopted highly controversial new water quality standards.

Everglades Water Quality Nearly At Acceptable Levels

Dec 19, 2016

After more than two decades of work to restore water quality in the Florida Everglades it’s now nearing federal and state standards.


Miami Will Appeal Controversial Water Standards Ruling

Sep 20, 2016

City of Miami officials said they would appeal a ruling after a judge tossed out challenges to controversial new state water-quality standards.

Seminole Tribe Challenges Water Standards

Aug 10, 2016

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has filed a legal challenge against controversial new state water-quality standards, arguing they don't adequately take into account the amount of fish and other wildlife eaten by tribal members.


Federal lawmakers from Florida are criticizing the state’s recent decision to allow for higher levels of toxins in its waterways. They’re worried about public health because some of the toxins cause cancer.

The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission approved increased levels for about 20 different toxins in Florida surface waters, like rivers and estuaries. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would still have to approve the move.

Nine members of Congress recently sent the EPA a letter voicing their concern.

WQCS

Officials are responding to fears in southwest Florida about a massive algae bloom fouling waters on the state's Atlantic coast.

The News-Press reports that the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau updated its website with water-monitoring information and live video of beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

The newspaper says tourism officials also frequently post videos from Fort Myers and Sanibel beaches on social media.