Industry, utility groups announce water forum

Two groups that have raised concerns about a water bill introduced by Sen. Lee Constantine have announced their plans to hold a water forum in June.

Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have announced they are holding the first Florida Water Forum on June 4 in Orlando. They have asked candidates for governor and agriculture have been asked to participate in the forum.

“What we want to make sure is Florida is going to be strong on its water polices from now moving forward, taking care not only of our needs now but planning for future growth,” AIF senior lobbyist Keyna Cory said.

Both AIF and AWWA have been active on water issues in the Legislature and have raised concerns about SB 550 by Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs and chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation.

The bill was based on recommendations from the Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Inland Waters, Constantine said. He chaired the committee as it held meetings across the state and heard about threats to groundwater and waterways caused by over-pumping and pollution.

AIF is concerned that a provision in the bill that would create septic tank utilities amounts to creating another layer of government, Cory said. Constantine said establishing septic tank utilities would protect people from having to pay $6,000 or more when their septic tanks fail.

AWWA wants a “clean” rewrite of state water law in the Senate bill to match House bills, Florida Section representative Doug Mann told the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee meeting last week. SB 550 has three more committee stops.

(Story content provided by the Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)