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Blue-Green Algae Task Force identifies new contributor to water crisis

Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 19:06:37-04

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ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla— The newly created Blue-Green Algae Task Force in Florida held its third meeting Thursday at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce. The state’s top scientists are focusing in on septic tanks being a significant contributor to the water crisis in Florida.

“Every community needs to be having the discussion of what can they do to reduce nutrients to protect our environment,” said DEP secretary Noah Valenstein.

Florida’s Chief Science Officer Tom Frazer estimates there’s 2.5 million septic tanks throughout Florida. “Those septic systems contribute nitrogen specially to our water bodies, it’s that nitrogen that fuels algal blooms and it’s a problem,” said Frazer.

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Governor Ron DeSantis has dumped a record $625 million into water related projects.

“Certainly every effort should be put towards advancing our ability to treat waste water,” said Frazer.

It’s a decision the owners of CareFree Boat Club in Stuart applaud.

“It needs to be regulated or something no more pesticides we’re using and stuff, especially septic that’s nasty,” said Brennan Vega.

Vega and his wife have spent the past few years afraid that they are watching their livelihood rapidly deteriorate in front of their eyes.

“You know we make our living out here on the water, this is what we do we are out here every day, if it’s toxic for humans and fish no one is going to come boating,” said Vega.

The task force members can’t say for sure how significant of a contributor the septic is compared to agriculture runoff and other factors, however they say their goal is to have scientifically backed recommendations to bring to Tallahassee before the next legislative session.