Florida League of Cities

Safe Waterways Act (Monitor) – Failed 

HB 177 (Gossett-Seldman) and SB 172 (Berman) require the Department of Health to adopt and enforce certain rules and issue health advisories for beach waters and public bathing places if the results of bacteriological water sampling at the site fail to meet health standards. The bills also expand the current law preemption of the issuance of health advisories related to bacteriological sampling of beach waters to include public bathing places. The bills specify that beach waters and public bathing places must close if closure is necessary to protect health and safety and must remain closed until the water quality is restored in accordance with the Department's standards. The bills require the Department to adopt by rule specifications for signage that must be used when it issues a health advisory against swimming in affected beach waters or public bathing places due to elevated levels of specified bacteria and require such signage to be placed at beach access points and access points to public bathing places until the health advisory is removed. The bills specify that municipalities and counties are responsible for posting and maintaining the signage around beaches and public bathing places they own. Finally, the bills require the Department to develop an interagency database for reporting fecal indicator bacteria data and specify that fecal indicator bacteria relating to sampled beach waters and public bathing places must be published in the database within five business days after receipt of the data. (O'Hara)