TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott has announced that he will propose additional funding in his 2017-2018 recommended budget to help clean up the Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee River. This proposal will include new funding for a 50/50 matching grant program with local communities surrounding the water bodies affected by algae blooms resulting from the frequent discharges of Lake Okeechobee. If approved by the Legislature, this voluntary program will provide funding to encourage residents to move from septic tanks to sewer systems in order to curb pollution that is currently entering into these water bodies. This proposal will also support local communities to help build wastewater systems to meet the increased demand for wastewater services.
Governor Scott said, “Every day, millions of gallons of water continue to be discharged into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers after years of the federal government failing to repair the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike. While the state has continued to step up and invest in important restoration projects to help South Florida waterways, it is clear that more work has to be done. It is up to all of us – the state, Florida’s local communities and the federal government – to work together on long term solutions to improve the quality of our water. That is why I am going to commit state funding and match it with local contributions so we can work together on efforts to clean up our waters. Septic tank runoff is a major contributor to the pollution in these water bodies and I look forward to working with the Legislature to fund efforts to curb it.”
Governor Scott is currently working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District on the specific details of this proposal which will be part of the Governor’s 2017 Budget Proposal and Legislative package. More details, including specific state funding amount, will be released at a later date.