376.30 Legislative intent with respect to pollution of surface and ground waters.—
(1) The Legislature finds and declares:
(a) That certain lands and waters of Florida constitute unique and delicately balanced resources and that the protection of these resources is vital to the economy of this state;
(b) That the preservation of surface and ground waters is a matter of the highest urgency and priority, as these waters provide the primary source for potable water in this state; and
(c) That such use can only be served effectively by maintaining the quality of state waters in as close to a pristine condition as possible, taking into account multiple-use accommodations necessary to provide the broadest possible promotion of public and private interests.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that:
(a) The storage, transportation, and disposal of pollutants, drycleaning solvents, and hazardous substances within the jurisdiction of the state and state waters is a hazardous undertaking;
(b) Spills, discharges, and escapes of pollutants, drycleaning solvents, and hazardous substances that occur as a result of procedures taken by private and governmental entities involving the storage, transportation, and disposal of such products pose threats of great danger and damage to the environment of the state, to citizens of the state, and to other interests deriving livelihood from the state;
(c) Such hazards have occurred in the past, are occurring now, and present future threats of potentially catastrophic proportions, all of which are expressly declared to be inimical to the paramount interests of the state as set forth in this section; and
(d) Such state interests outweigh any economic burdens imposed by the Legislature upon those engaged in storing, transporting, or disposing of pollutants, drycleaning solvents, and hazardous substances and related activities.
(3) The Legislature intends by the enactment of ss. 376.30-376.317 to exercise the police power of the state by conferring upon the Department of Environmental Protection the power to:
(a) Deal with the environmental and health hazards and threats of danger and damage posed by such storage, transportation, disposal, and related activities;
(b) Require the prompt containment and removal of products occasioned thereby; and
(c) Establish a program which will enable the department to:
1. Provide for expeditious restoration or replacement of potable water systems or potable private wells of affected persons where health hazards exist due to contamination from pollutants (which may include provision of bottled water on a temporary basis, after which a more stable and convenient source of potable water shall be provided) and hazardous substances, subject to the following conditions:
a. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term “restoration” means restoration of a contaminated potable water supply to a level which meets applicable water quality standards or applicable water quality criteria, as adopted by rule, for the contaminant or contaminants present in the water supply, or, where no such standards or criteria have been adopted, to a level that is determined to be a safe, potable level by the State Health Officer in the Department of Health, through the installation of a filtration system and provision of replacement filters as necessary or through employment of repairs or another treatment method or methods designed to remove or filter out contamination from the water supply; and the term “replacement” means replacement of a well or well field or connection to an alternative source of safe, potable water.
b. For the purposes of the Inland Protection Trust Fund and the drycleaning facility restoration funds in the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund as provided in s. 376.3078, such restoration or replacement shall take precedence over other uses of the unobligated moneys within the fund after payment of amounts appropriated annually from the Inland Protection Trust Fund for payments under any service contract entered into by the department pursuant to s. 376.3075.
c. Funding for activities described in this subparagraph shall not exceed $10 million for any one county for any one year, other than for the provision of bottled water.
d. Funding for activities described in this subparagraph shall not be available to fund any increase in the capacity of a potable water system or potable private well over the capacity which existed prior to such restoration or replacement, unless such increase is the result of the use of a more cost-effective alternative than other alternatives available.
2. Provide for the inspection and supervision of activities described in this subsection.
3. Guarantee the prompt payment of reasonable costs resulting therefrom, including those administrative costs incurred by the Department of Health in providing field and laboratory services, toxicological risk assessment, and other services to the department in the investigation of drinking water contamination complaints.
(4) The Legislature further finds and declares that the preservation of the quality of surface and ground waters is of prime public interest and concern to the state in promoting its general welfare, preventing disease, promoting health, and providing for the public safety and that the interest of the state in such preservation outweighs any burdens of liability imposed by the Legislature upon those persons engaged in storing pollutants and hazardous substances and related activities.
(5) The Legislature further declares that it is the intent of ss. 376.30-376.317 to support and complement applicable provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, specifically those provisions relating to the national contingency plan for removal of pollutants.
History.—s. 84, ch. 83-310; s. 5, ch. 84-338; s. 10, ch. 86-159; s. 1, ch. 89-188; s. 2, ch. 92-30; s. 2, ch. 94-355; s. 296, ch. 94-356; s. 1, ch. 96-277; s. 46, ch. 96-321; s. 7, ch. 98-189; s. 68, ch. 99-8; s. 57, ch. 2007-5.