Senator David Simmons outlined the water quality issues our springs and aquifer are experiencing and identified the major contributors to the problem; water reduction, agricultural practices, residential run-off and septic tanks, and waste water treatment practices. While he spoke, LWV FL Natural Resources Chair, Chuck O’Neal,displayed in living color “Then & Now” examples of each of the problems facing our aquifer and springs; algae growth, reduction of flow, putrefaction of the water and shorelines, and wholesale water consumption.
Senator Simmons spelled out his solution to restore our water resources:
1, Start in the beginning with the end in mind; tackle the problems “Worst, First.”
2. Bring all interested parties to the process, i.e.,FDEP, Water Management, Agriculture, Industry and Environment; place their respective plans on the table and work out the process, which he anticipates should take a minimum of 15 years, to bring about permanent change.
3. Create a dedicated funding source – Amendment 1
Chuck O’Neal followed Senator Simmons with information on the scientific aspects of our substrata and the connection between our springs, water treatment and the aquifer. He provided scientific studies done in the past to quantify the recharge and flow processes. Then he proposed an additional point to Senator Simmons list of solutions:
4. Reset the paradigm used to set the standards: i.e.; reevaluate prior studies to prove or disprove the findings, and attack the problem where it will do the greatest good, first.
Follow-up questions were few due to time constraints, however through out the program both speakers poised and answered a number of questions, including many in the minds of those in attendance.