Rep. Randy Fine Proposes HB 141 During 2019 Legislative Session to Clean Up Indian River Lagoon
By Space Coast Daily // December 29, 2018
bill would provide funding for sewer line extensions to the South Beaches
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, on Friday proposed providing $50 million a year in state funds to help efforts to restore the Indian River Lagoon.
Fine proposed HB 141 for consideration during the 2019 legislative session, which begins in March.
“There is no issue more important to the future of Brevard County than restoring the Indian River Lagoon,” said Fine.
“The state has an important role in both financially supporting that recovery as well as guiding local governments to get the job done. My legislation will do both – providing the incentive of $50 million a year in matching funds to support Indian River Lagoon restoration and dramatically increased penalties for illegal spills caused by lack of system maintenance.”
The bill would provide funding for sewer line extensions to the South Beaches south of Melbourne Beach, to take properties off septic that already have the opportunity to hook into sewer lines, and to upgrade treatment capabilities at a system plant to make discharges nutrient-free.
Also, money could go to sewer-plant upgrades, and the bill would toughen penalties for plants that illegally discharge sewage into waterways or the aquifer.
The legislation calls for a $1-per-gallon fine for every gallon of untreated sewage discharged into any waterway or aquifer, and to spend $2 per gallon to remediate and upgrade systems to prevent further problems.
“I am very excited that the bill prioritizes sewer main line extensions, plant upgrades, and assistance with septic-to-sewer conversions,” said Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi.
The state money would have to be matched by local funds.
“I have stressed that our sewage infrastructure must be a priority to clean up the Indian River Lagoon and I applaud Rep. Fine’s dedication and effort to improve the lagoon,” said Brevard County Commission Vice Chair Brian Lober.
Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, will file companion legislation.
“Florida is not Florida without its abundant natural waterways,” Gruters said. “Water is at the heart of the state’s terrific quality of life, and what makes tourism the backbone of our economy.”
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