Transfer of the Onsite Sewage Program from Department of Health to Department of Environmental Protection, Effective July 1, 2021
This page was created to provide a central repository for information related to the transfer of the Onsite Sewage Program from DOH to DEP. The transfer was proposed in the 2020 Legislative Session in Senate Bill 712. The bill passed and was signed into law by Governor DeSantis on June 30, 2020, as Chapter 2020-150. The bill and the Law can be viewed in the documents posted below on this page.
This page will be updated with related documents and information regarding the transfer. The frequency of the postings will vary, so check back periodically for new information.
Update on the Certified Environmental Health Professional (CEHP) in Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems
May 7, 2021.This update addresses the effect of the 2020 changes to section 381.0101, Florida Statutes, by the Florida Clean Waterways Act (SB712), to the Certified Environmental Health Professional (CEHP) certification in Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), jointly referred to as agencies, have agreed that the certification in this program area will continue and language addressing this will be in the interagency agreement between the two agencies. This will allow OSTDS site evaluations to continue for both the state employees and private evaluators.
For the current CEHP certification and renewal period ending September 30, 2021, the existing procedures will remain in place. CEHPs requesting renewal will do so as usual through the CEHP program office in the DOH Bureau of Environmental Health. The certification will be required for employees of either agency performing environmental health or sanitary evaluation of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), as well as private site evaluators.
January 5, 2021. The Act called for the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection to submit recommendations regarding all aspects of the transfer to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by December 31, 2020. The Department contracted with the Florida Conflict Resolution Center at Florida State University to facilitate discussions between staff from both agencies and develop recommendations. The resulting report with recommendations was submitted December 30, 2020 and a copy is posted below.
The report recommends what is referred to as “scenario B”. In this scenario, employees working in the program in the county health departments will continue to be DOH-employees and implement the OSTDS program. Starting July 1, 2021, the implementation will be under the direction of the Department of Environmental Protection. The program office in the State Health Office will transfer to DEP and continue to provide the current services from there. The Environmental Health Database and its successor will continue to be managed from the DOH State Health Office.
The future of the certification as certified environmental health professional in OSTDS has not been settled. The need for clarification of training requirements and certification is established but left to the Interagency Agreement: “Any model for providing OSTDS services on July 1, 2021, must clearly establish if private site evaluators will continue to exist or when they will cease to exist; and the training and, as applicable, certification requirements for employees of either agency working in the OSTDS program… On July 1, 2021, DOH and DEP should cooperate to ensure that, at a minimum, the appropriate education and training regarding the public health and environmental aspects of OSTDS is available to DEP employees, DOH employees and private site evaluators.”
During the first half of 2021, the two agencies will work out the interagency agreement under which the program will operate starting on July 1, 2021.
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.