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Bill Summary Details

Recycled/Reclaimed Water (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 715 (Maggard) and CS/CS/SB 1656 (Albritton) recognize potable reuse as an alternative water supply and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding that 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 in proposed developments containing 25 or more single family residential homes. CS/CS/SB 1656 prohibits domestic wastewater utilities from disposing of effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water by surface water discharge beginning January 2026. The following discharges are exempted 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.  CS/CS/HB 715 requires, within one year of the effective date of adoption of DEP potable water reuse rules or by July 2023, each wastewater utility that disposes of effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water by surface water discharge to submit to DEP a plan for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges within five years. If approved by DEP, the plan must be incorporated into the utility’s operating permit. The bill specifies the required content of the utilities’ plans and the conditions under which DEP must approve such plans. It requires DEP to approve a plan that demonstrates it is technically, economically, or environmentally infeasible to meet the requirement to eliminate surface water discharges, or that implementing such requirements would create a severe undue economic hardship on the community served by the utility. If approved by DEP, a utility’s plan must be fully implemented by January 2027, but a utility has until January 2029 to implement a potable water reuse project contained in a plan. The bill exempts from these requirements wastewater utilities located in a fiscally constrained county, a rural area of economic opportunity, or within a municipality that generates less than $10 million in total revenue. (O’Hara)