Issues – Water Quality Standards

Fishable/Swimmable or Boatable/Splashable?

When the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress in 1972, one of its stated goals was to make all waters in America clean enough to be fish-able and swimmable by 1985. And by 1986, the goal was to have all discharges of pollutants from some type of conveyance (such as a pipe) removed from our waters.

What happened? Politically powerful polluters have been lobbying the US EPA and state agencies such as the Florida DEP to ignore these goals for our waters. Today, the Florida DEP will give any polluter a permit to dump pollution into our waters – regardless of the condition of those waters. Florida’s wetlands, nature’s water purifiers, are being destroyed by the thousands of acres every year. Florida DEP never tells a developer NO – you can’t pave these wetlands. This has gotten us to where we are today – with dangerously polluted waters all across our state.

From Florida Bay to Sanibel Island to the Indian River Lagoon to the St. Johns River to the Suwannee River to Wakulla Springs to Choctawhatchee Bay, our waters are full of harmful algae that rob the water of oxygen, kill the fish, manatee, sea-turtles, dolphins and even people when they eat or breath these toxic plants. Florida’s waters are in crisis.

WHAT IS THE CLEAN WATER NETWORK OF FLORIDA DOING? We are informing citizens about the condition of their local waters. We are helping citizens demand pollution reductions in their waters that will allow these waters to return to a healthy state. We are suing the government when they don’t set pollution limits that will protect our waters.

  • We sued the EPA for not protecting the St. Johns River – AND WON!
  • We sued the DEP for allowing large factory-sized dairies to illegally dump cow manure in our waters – AND WE WON!
  • We are suing EPA right now for allowing the state DEP to weaken our water quality standards rather than make polluters clean up their pollution.
  • If the Florida DEP creates new categories of waters in Florida that are only protected for boating (splash-able) and transportation (watchable) we will file suit to stop them.