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Setting Sewage, Fertilizer, and Animal Waste Limits

Case Number # 1773, 2148, 2278, 2460

Confined animal feeding operation.
The sources of those pollutants are animal waste, effluent from sewage treatment plants, and fertilizer from farms and to a lesser extent from urban areas.

The Clean Water Act puts pollution limits on lakes and streams to protect their uses for drinking water, shellfish, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat. Lakes and streams are required to meet pollution concentration limits to protect those uses.

However, the current standard used by most states only states "concentrations that cause an imbalance in natural flora or fauna" allows states and the polluters to claim that unnatural bacterial growths, wild uncontrolled algae mats or vegetative growths, or the loss of fish is due to other causes. In fact, they are caused by pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus which fertilize the water so that a panoply of undesirable growths take place. The sources of those pollutants are animal waste, effluent from sewage treatment plants, and fertilizer from farms and to a lesser extent from urban areas. Not having a measurable limit makes enforcement of the phosphorus and nitrogen limits almost impossible. The result has been a growing number of toxic algal outbreaks in lakes and dead zones in estuaries and in the Gulf of Mexico. Drinking water sources are threatened, as are important ecosystems.

Earthjustice sought to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create effective water quality standards. In 2009, a federal judge approved a settlement that requires the EPA to set legal limits on nutrient poisoning in Florida's waters.

Press Releases

Thursday, March 6, 2014
Citizens deserve protection. Instead, Florida protects polluters
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Summer swimming and boating off limits: Residents protesting, asking for leadership
Friday, March 15, 2013
Today’s bogus plan on water rules won’t stop slime outbreaks
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Urge the EPA to stay strong and enforce the Clean Water Act
Friday, November 30, 2012
Judge fails to grant extension sought by the EPA; Major victory for Florida’s environment
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
EPA action on clean-up plan expected soon
Monday, July 23, 2012
Nauseating algae outbreaks ruining river, drinking water plant, and quality of life
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Polluters win right to continue fouling public waters with sewage, manure and fertilizer
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Health authorities urge people to keep out of the water—just in time for Memorial Day weekend
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Floridians ask leaders to address ongoing public health threat