DeSantis Will Push 2020 Legislature to Toughen Fines for Municipal Sewage-Spillers
Article Reference: DeSantis Will Push 2020 Legislature to Toughen Fines for Municipal Sewage-Spillers
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will ask the Legislature in 2020 to raise the state’s $10,000 fine for spilling sewage into waterways by 50 percent == a measure aimed at municipalities, since most sewage treatment plants are owned and operated by local governments.
He will also request lawmakers give the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the capacity to levy daily fines after the initial $15,000 penalty until the issue has been remedied because, he said, “Right now, it’s a slap on the wrist and move on.”
That, DeSantis said last week during a press conference in Naples, would give the penalties some “bite.”
“What we end up seeing happening is, you have some of these municipalities, it’s cheaper for them to pay a fine and spew all this sewage into the waterways, because it’s the cost of doing business,” he said. “They’d rather do that than invest in the infrastructure they need to make sure the waterways surrounding them are safe and clean.”
The governor cited a recent 900,000 gallon sewage spill into Tampa Bay by three cities, including 750,000 gallons from Clearwater, and not acting swiftly to repair the discharge as an example of why the state needs to get tough on sewage leaks, prompting some at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center to suggest lawmakers consider fining by the gallon.