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Sine die! Legislative Session is over and SB 1576 did not pass. Thanks to all of you for your important e-mails and phone calls – and a special thanks to Coalition for Property Rights for being in Tallahassee week after week to make sure all the legislators heard the facts about what this bill would do to our property rights – not to mention what it would do to our state’s finances. This kind of dedication doesn’t come cheap! Step up and Support CPR today!

The legislature acted on some other issues that are important:

$30 Million Budgeted for Springs Protection Projects. Negotiations in the Budget Committee Conference allocated $30 million dollars for projects that will serve to protect and restore springs. We will be reporting on who gets it and how it is being spent. Here is a summary article on SB1576 from the Florida Current. Click here to see what happened to the bill and what the plan is for the future.

Land Application of Septage. Three years ago, Senate Bill 550 instituted a ban on any further land application of septage. Septage is what is pumped from your septic tank. Some is hauled to municipal plants, and some is hauled to state certified sites where it is treated to remove bacteria and pathogens. Some municipal plants also use these sites to dispose of residual “cake” after these plants treat municipal sewer sludge. It is considered a safe practice and some is used to produce a fertilizer called milorganite. Not a pretty subject, but septage is a fact of life, whether you are in a city or in the country. Several bills have been introduced over the years to repeal or postpone the ban, but legislators have allowed the ban to continue and it will take effect in 2016.

CONFLICT ALERT. This is what’s confusing to me…..On one hand, homeowners are accused of being irresponsible if they don’t maintain their systems with regular pump-outs. On the other hand, if we do the responsible thing and pump out every five years, the means to dispose of the increased amount of septage is being eliminated. Even the municipal plants will not have a solution. So far, no one has stepped up to explain how they intend to address this issue, and the deadline is looming…. The right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is doing, but the ban remains and the impact of this ban will be serious.

SB 1748. Like SB 1576, this bill mandates the water management district pass rules to establish minimum flows and levels for the lower Santa Fe and Ichetucknee Rivers. When the rules are implemented, it is expected to protect approximately 70 springs in the area. Typically, these rules give authority to the district to regulate withdrawals and local water use to maintain those levels. If you live in this area, you may want to keep a close eye on this rule making effort.

Senate Resolution 382. April is now designated as “Springs Protection Awareness Month.”

SPECIAL THANKS! Residents in the Wekiva Area have been especially well-served by Representative Bryan Nelson. For the past eight years, he has been available to us and our concerns and has been a constant support. Rep. Nelson is termed out. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to say thank you for all you have done. Feel free to send him your own note of thanks. Rep. Nelson will be on the ballot locally as he is currently running for Orange County Commissioner, District 2.