The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is initiating rulemaking to establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for surface waters within the Caloosahatchee River Basin. The Notice of Rulemaking does not specify which water bodies will be included. However, it is anticipated that this rulemaking will result in the setting of TMDLs for nutrients and DO, as applicable, for the entire Caloosahatchee River Basin, plus those impaired tributaries. The Notice specifies that these waterbodies previously have been identified as impaired for specific pollutants and included on the Department’s verified list of impaired waters. Further, the Notice states that these nutrient TMDLs, if adopted, are intended to constitute site specific numeric interpretations of the narrative nutrient criterion set forth in paragraph 62-302.530(47)(b), F.A.C. This is important for purposes of compliance with the NNC criteria.
The FDEP concurrently noticed a workshop to discuss progress on the Caloosahatchee tributaries nutrient TMDLs and to discuss the Caloosahatchee TMDL rulemaking. The details on the workshop are:
DATE AND TIME: June 5, 2013, 1:30 p.m.
PLACE: Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, First Floor Conference Room, 1926 Victoria Avenue, Ft. Myers, Florida
While continued environmental regulatory reform was initially not a high priority in Tallahassee this year, it turned out to be an active legislative session for environmental and water-related bills. Both the 2011 and 2012 sessions included major changes to environmental and growth management laws. However, stormwater management, water supply, water quality trading, public-private partnerships, and numeric nutrient criteria are merely a few of the subjects addressed by the legislature in 2013. Overall, during the 2013 session, a total of 286 bills passed both the Senate and House. Gov. Scott signed 37 bills, and vetoed 11. The remaining Bills were passed without signature.
Click here for details on the 2013 Bills…
Florida’s “design professionals” (engineers, geologists, architects, landscape architects, interior designers and surveyors) need to be aware of a new law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Scott. Importantly, Senate Bill 286 will limit the professional liability of design professionals so long as they follow the requirements of the bill. Also new, geologist was added to the definition of a design professional. SB 286 provides that design professionals are not individually liable for damages resulting from their negligence occurring within the course and scope of professional services while employed or acting as an agent of a business entity (your firm).
The bill provides specific conditions that must exist for such limitation on liability to apply. Specifically, the contract between the business entity and claimant must not name the individual design professional as a party to the contract, the contract must clearly state that an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable, the business entity must maintain professional liability insurance pursuant to the contract, and the damages alleged must be economic, and not extend to personal injuries or property not subject to the contract. Further, the statement in the contract must be prominent, in uppercase font that is at least 5 point sizes larger than the rest of the text. However, the changes should not be made until July 1, 2013 to be effective.
For a copy of the bill, click here. If you are not involved in writing your work contracts, I recommend passing this information on to those that do. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Only two days left in the 2013 Legislative Session and our representatives in Tallahassee have been very busy passing numerous environmental, utility and natural resource related Bills. Below you will find a summary of four Bills of note. However, my updated Legislation Summary Chart is attached and contains summaries and updates on these and many more. Topics of other bills include: public/private partnerships, permitting of alternative water supplies, water quality credit trading, septic tank inspections, performance-based contracting, Everglades improvements, and more. Once the session has ended, I will have a detailed summary of all Bills that passed, and comments on those that did not.
For detail on the four Bills, click here.
On April 15, 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) held its first of three workshops to discuss proposed numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for regional estuaries and statewide coastal waterbodies. The first workshop was held in West Palm Beach, with subsequent workshops held in Jacksonville (April 16) and Tallahassee (April 17). The estuaries discussed at the West Palm Beach workshop included the Loxahatchee River and Lake Worth Lagoon. In Jacksonville, FDEP discussed the estuaries of the Halifax River, the Guana/Tolomato/Matanzas (GTM) Rivers, and the Nassau River. In Tallahassee, FDEP discussed the estuaries covering the Suwannee River, Waccasassa River, and Withlacoochee River, and the Springs Coast (Crystal River to Anclote River). Click here for more information on the workshops