Water quality and the improvement of water resources in Florida are a key priority for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As such, the Department is proposing amendments to Ch. 62-640, F.A.C. The rule represents the Departments commitment to science-based processes, by recommending changes to biosolids regulations to minimize the migration of nutrients, specifically phosphorus, to prevent impairment to waterbodies.
Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee
In 2018, the Department created a Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to evaluate current management practices and explore opportunities to better protect Florida’s water resources. The TAC members represent stakeholders from all arenas including environmental and agricultural industry experts, large and small utilities, waste haulers, consultants and academics.
The TAC convened on four occasions from September 2018 to January 2019 and discussed the following:
What are the current options for biosolids management in the state?
Are there better ways to manage biosolids to improve the protection of our water resources?
What research is needed to improve biosolid management?
The meetings included presentations related to biosolid management and regulations, water quality, innovative technologies and research. Each public meeting included open public comment, as well as discussion among the TAC members, the audience and the Department.
Based on the deliberations of the TAC and feedback from public participants, the following actions were recommended:
Permit biosolids in a manner that minimizes migration of nutrients to prevent impairment to waterbodies. The Department should modify current permitting rules to:
Establish the rate of biosolids application based on site specifics, such as soil characteristics/adsorption capacity, water table, hydrogeology, site use, distance to surface water. This would better prevent nutrient pollution offsite;
Evaluate the percentage of water extractable phosphorus in all biosolids to inform the appropriate application rate; and
Establish criteria for low, medium and high-risk sites that guide application practices and required water quality monitoring.
Increase the inspection rate of land application.
Develop site specific groundwater and/or surface water monitoring protocols to detect nutrient migration.
Develop and conduct biosolid and nutrient management research on nutrient run-off through surface and groundwater flow.
This should be done with various application rates, various types biosolid application and different geologic conditions.
Promote innovative technology pilot projects for biosolids processing that could provide a wider range of beneficial end products.
The TAC disbanded on January 23, 2019.
Chapter 62-640 Rule Development
On March 22, 2019, the Department published the Notice of Rule Development to amend chapter 62-640, F.A.C. Rule development workshops were held in Tallahassee (June 25), Orlando (June 26), and West Palm Beach (June 27), where the Department provided an overview of rule changes and accepted public comment. The workshops were also available via webinar. Links to the webinar recordings and information regarding the rulemaking may be found below. Comments received by the Department on the draft rule are also available for review.
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.