What is EPA Doing to Help Restore Everglades Water Quality?
During 2012, EPA and the state of Florida reached consensus on new water quality restoration strategies for improving water quality in the Everglades. Discharge permits and consent orders issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection require:
- a science-based stringent discharge limit for phosphorus that will result in meeting the water quality standard
- an additional 6500 acres added to one of the wetlands dedicated to phosphorus treatment (called Stormwater Treatment Areas, or STAs)
- dedication of about 110,000 acre-feet of water storage areas (flow equalization basins) that will slowly release water to the STAs in order to maximize their performance
- an enforceable compliance schedule for $880 million of projects with completion dates of 2018 to 2025.
- a robust monitoring and research plan to confirm that the performance of all five STAs is optimized and restoration is moving forward
To assure that progress is being made and milestones are being met, the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 4 will meet twice annually with the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection until each STA meets the phosphorus discharge limit. Technical representatives from state and federal agencies also meet at least twice annually to:
- review research,
- evaluate operation of the STAs,
- and assess water quality and progress in achieving the deadlines.