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Bill Summary Details

Recycled/Reclaimed Water (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 715 (Maggard) and CS/SB 1656 (Albritton) prohibit domestic wastewater utilities from disposing of effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water by surface water discharge beginning January 2026. The bills exempt the following discharges from this prohibition: indirect potable reuse projects; permitted wet weather discharges; discharges into stormwater management systems that are subsequently withdrawn for irrigation; projects where reclaimed water is recovered from an aquifer recharge system and subsequently discharged for potable reuse; wetlands creation, restoration and enhancement projects; surface water minimum flows and levels recovery and prevention projects; and domestic water utilities in fiscally constrained counties or municipalities in rural areas of opportunity; and wastewater treatment facilities located in municipalities that have less than $10 million in total annual revenue. The bills recognize potable reuse as an alternative water supply and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding and that such projects may not be excluded from regional water supply plans. The bills direct the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rules relating to the beneficial reuse of water for public water supply purposes that are protective of the environment and public health, building on the guiding principles and goals set forth in the Potable Reuse Commission’s 2019 report on advancing potable reuse in Florida. The bills specify the rules should require the treatment of reclaimed water to drinking water standards. The bills include provisions to ensure that projects do not cause harm to the state’s aquifer and surface waters by requiring such projects do not cause or contribute to violations of water quality standards and that when such water is released into surface or groundwater, consideration of emerging constituents may be required. The bills direct DEP to adopt rules for implementation of potable water reuse projects and specify minimum requirements for the rules, authorize DEP to revise existing drinking water and reclaimed water rules, and authorize DEP to convene technical advisory committees to coordinate the rule review and rulemaking required in the bills. The bills direct DEP and the water management districts to execute a memorandum of agreement providing optional processes for coordinated review of any permits associated with indirect potable reuse projects. The bills authorize potential incentives for public-private partnerships for water recycling projects including expedited permitting and tax credits. The bills require local governments to authorize the use of residential graywater technologies and provide incentives (density bonuses, waiver of fees, etc.) to developers to fully offset the developer’s cost of providing such technology. (O’Hara)