The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed water-quality standards for Florida that would for the first time set numeric limits on nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen in that state. Nitrogen and phosphorous pollution comes from stormwater and agricultural runoff as well as municipal wastewater treatment.
Normally, states are responsible for developing their own water-quality standards. EPA says it is taking the action, announced on Jan. 15, as a result of a 2009 consent decree between the EPA and the Florida Wildlife Federation. The wildlife organization filed a lawsuit in 2008 seeking to require EPA to develop numeric water-quality standards for the state, claiming such standards were necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. A 2008 Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection report showed many of the state’s waters were not meeting water-quality standards because of excess nutrients.