Monday, Port St. Lucie crews collected samples from more than a dozen sites along the St. Lucie river, and in neighboring canals. It’s part of a yearlong study that began last month looking for microbial bacteria, the kind found in human and animal waste.
“(In the first tests last month), the tracers for human DNA, we didn’t identify that. It didn’t show up in the first round of sampling," said Public Works Director Jim Angstadt.
Angstadt says while certain spots had higher bacteria concentrations, it’s premature to draw any conclusions from one round of tests.
“We’re hoping that after the third round of sampling we’ll get some professionals together," added Angstadt.
That third round of tests will happen in August, then three more rounds of sampling during the winter dry season will give the city a template to work with.
These tests come as the state prepares to vote Tuesday on new water pollution standards.
The Department of Environmental Protection is updating what’s safe for human health for 43 chemical compounds it regulates, and creating standards for another 39.
“I don’t like to see Florida weaken any standards," said Port St. Lucie Mayor Greg Oravec, who added he's concerned the state could allow higher limits for some toxic substances.
“Our lifeblood is water whether it’s the springs or the Kissimmee River watershed flowing to Lake O and the Everglades. Florida is all about the water," said the mayor.
On its website, the DEP claims it is not weakening any standards and that Floridians will still be protected. The state’s Environmental Regulation Commission could adopt the standards Tuesday and send them on to the EPA for final approval.