Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hands Along the Water to North Port: We can combat Red Tide

On Nov 27, 2018 at the North Port City Commission, members of Hands Along the Water, an environmental advocacy group, urged the Board to take a look at existing state research on the impact of nitrogen nutrients on Red Tide.

Despite many measures undertaken by local communities (e.g. closing septic tanks), nitrogen levels in coastal waters such as Sarasota and Lemon Bays have steadily been increasing:

What's more, clear evidence shows that stormwater ponds as currently managed do not achieve the 80% rate of nutrient reduction presumed by state regulations. The actual performance is closer to 40%-45%.

Beginning in 2000, the Dept. of Environmental Protection spent 10 years researching the issue and, after consulting experts statewide, had prepared in 2010 to put in place an Advanced Stormwater Harvesting and Recyling Plan. Then the new Rick Scott administration came into office, and swept all these plans aside.

With Hands Along the Water was Steve Suau, a stormwater engineer who has been working on the problem and how to best address it. Suau presented the facts and potential benefits of reviving the Advanced Stormwater Treatment option.

The group asked North Port Commissioners to consider adopting a Resolution that would ask Governor Elect Ron DeSantis to restart this effort to reduce nitrogen runoff. The effort would be neither costly nor difficult - in fact it could produce revenue, the group said. Here is a summary timeline:

1977 to present: (past 50 years): Red tide abundance and duration increases
1997 to present: Nitrogen concentrations in Sarasota and Lemon Bays increase
1995 to 2010: Current regulations presume 80% effectiveness of pond reduction, but
studies revealed that stormwater ponds reduce nitrogen runoff by only 40-45% effective
2000 to 2010: Florida conducts 10-year research and monitoring,
drafts Stormwater Rule and Advanced Stormwater Treatment Design Manual.  
2011: Incoming administration cancels Stormwater Rule and Manual
2018: Proven Stormwater Harvesting and Recycling Technology exists now
  • Quantifiable
  • Can be used within existing pond footprint
  • Can produce revenue 

2019 and Beyond: Hit the Restart Button: Resolve to ask the new DeSantis administration to reinitiate the Advanced Stormwater Treatment Rule public hearing and adoption process.

See Steve Suau's full presentation here.

Letter to Governor Elect Ron DeSantis.

Hands Along the Water speakers:

Samantha Gentrup

Nadine Baker

Brian Kelly

Joan San Lwin

Tim Ritchie

Edie Driest

More on this significant opportunity for to do someting about Red Tide here.

More about Red Tide

Members of Hands Along the Water at North Port City Hall Nov. 27, 2018

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