With over 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, 7,800 lakes, and 4,000 square miles of estuaries, Florida has an abundance of surface waters used for a variety of purposes by the people who live and work here, by those who are visiting, and by the fish and wildlife that depend on these waters.
The federal Clean Water Act provides the statutory basis for state water quality standards programs. The regulatory requirements governing these programs (Water Quality Standards Regulation) are published in 40 CFR 131. States are responsible for reviewing, establishing and revising water quality standards. Florida’s surface water quality standards system is published in 62-302 (and 62-302.530) of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). The components of this system include classifications, criteria, including site specific criteria, an anti-degradation policy, and special protection of certain waters (Outstanding Florida Waters).
In July 2016, the Environmental Regulation Commision (ERC) approved for adoption proposed revisions to the human health-based surface water quality criteria in Chapter 62-302, F.A.C., that are designed to ensure that Floridians can safely eat Florida fish and drink local tap water. The revisions are based on updated scientific information, including more recent fish and drinking water consumption rate information, updated toxicological information, and revised methods to estimate bioaccumulation of pollutants in fish. Additionally, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 403.061(29)(b) and paragraphs 403.861(21)(a) and (b), Florida Statutes, enacted under Chapter 2016-01, Laws of Florida, the department is proposing to establish a new Classification of surface waters (Class I-Treated, Treated Potable Water Supplies) and reclassified six Class III surface waters into the new classification.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.