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Water-Related News

EPA: Florida must change water quality standards to protect citizens’ health

TALLAHASSEE — The United States Environmental Protection Agency has determined that Florida’s antiquated water quality standards do not go far enough in protecting its citizens — particularly those who consume fish — from pollutants and adverse health effects.

Florida’s current criteria for 40 toxic pollutants runs afoul of the Clean Water Act, does not reflect the latest science and must be changed to safeguard a state that has a vibrant seafood industry, the agency said in a letter released Thursday by the federal agency.

A big issue: Florida’s projection that its residents eat 6.5 grams of fish per day. That number came from standards adopted three decades ago, and the agency said it “does not keep pace with the current practices of Florida residents.”

Florida ranks 11th among American states for fresh seafood production with 87 million pounds harvested and a dockside value of $237 million, according to a 2016 report by the Florida Department of Agriculture.