Apr 12, 2010

EPA to Hold Additional Public Hearings on Proposed Florida Waters Standards in Fort Myers

Public hearings to be held in Fort Myers, Tampa and Jacksonville

On April 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin to hold additional public hearings in Fort Myers to ensure that Florida residents’ voices are heard regarding the agency’s proposed Florida water quality standards. The standards aim to protect health, aquatic life and the long term recreational uses of Florida’s waters, EPA said.

EPA is accepting public comments on the proposed standards through April 28, and is holding public hearings on the proposed rule in three Florida cities to obtain input and comments on the direction of EPA’s rulemaking. The hearings are scheduled for April 13, 14 and 15 in Fort Myers, Tampa and Jacksonville, respectively.

Nutrient pollution can damage drinking water sources; increase exposure to harmful algal blooms, which are made of toxic microbes that can cause damage to the nervous system or even death; and form byproducts in drinking water from disinfection chemicals, some of which have been linked with serious human illnesses like bladder cancer. Nutrient pollution problems can happen locally or much further downstream, leading to degraded lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries and to hypoxic “dead” zones where aquatic life can no longer survive.