Florida updates regulations, permitting more toxic chemicals in water

Proposed chemical regulations mandated under the Clean Water Act could make Florida’s surface waters more – or less – potable depending on who you talk to. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently proposed new standards for surface water pollutants, 24 years after they were last updated.

On Tuesday, the state's Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC), a seven-member panel appointed by the governor, held a public hearing and approved the DEP’s proposal by a 3-2 vote. Hotly debated were rules that create new standards for 39 chemicals that currently have no limits and updates for 43 others based on new data about national water quality trends and averages for human weight and water use released by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last summer, according to a DEP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page about the proposal.