The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act Passes Senate Committee

PHOTO: The eroding spring bank and failing rock boulders at Little River Springs Park in Suwannee County. Courtesy of SRWMD
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The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a proposal earlier tonight that would give state government more authority in protecting natural springs.

The bill passed unanimously and calls for immediate action.

"This is a survival mode if you will for the state of Florida. You have to have water to survive and you have to protect the water we've been blessed with," Sen. Bill Montford, Co-Creator of Bill said.

The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act is focused on increasing water levels and lowering water nutrient levels.

If it makes it through the senate and house, some of its provisions will go into effect as early as July of this year.

"What we don't have is time. We cannot sit back another year or two and pretend like this doesn't exist or say we need another study," Sen. Montford said.

The bill calls on the Department of Enviornmental Protection to establish a Spring Protection and Management Zone around each Outstanding Florida Spring.

It then asks the local government to set certain requirements for properties and businesses within the zone.

Now some people did voice concerns at the meeting about property owners who have septic tanks.

The bill says that if it's proven that those septic tanks cause polution to natural springs the owner will have to make some changes.

However, it also says that the state will have to cover that cost.

"Government put is in the position that we're in and government needs to help solve this problem," Sen. Montford said.

Funding for the provisions in the bill will come from state document tax revenue.

Officials at the front of the bill are looking to Leon County and the effort the City of Tallahassee has put in to reversing its pollution of Wakulla Springs.

The bill is still further behind in the house but supporters are focusing on getting it passed this session.

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