October 19, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 403
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
View Entire Chapter
Section 403.088, Florida Statutes 2009

403.088  Water pollution operation permits; conditions.--

(1)  No person, without written authorization of the department, shall discharge into waters within the state any waste which, by itself or in combination with the wastes of other sources, reduces the quality of the receiving waters below the classification established for them. However, this section shall not be deemed to prohibit the application of pesticides to waters in the state for the control of insects, aquatic weeds, or algae, provided the application is performed pursuant to a program approved by the Department of Health, in the case of insect control, or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in the case of aquatic weed or algae control. The department is directed to enter into interagency agreements to establish the procedures for program approval. Such agreements shall provide for public health, welfare, and safety, as well as environmental factors. Approved programs must provide that only chemicals approved for the particular use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may be employed and that they be applied in accordance with registered label instructions, state standards for such application, and the provisions of the Florida Pesticide Law, part I of chapter 487.

(2)(a)  Any person intending to discharge wastes into waters of the state shall make application to the department for any appropriate permit required by this chapter. Application shall be made on a form prescribed by the department and shall contain such information as the department requires.

(b)  If the department finds that the proposed discharge will reduce the quality of the receiving waters below the classification established for them, it shall deny the application and refuse to issue a permit. If the department finds that the proposed discharge will not reduce the quality of the receiving waters below the classification established for them, it may issue an operation permit if it finds that such degradation is necessary or desirable under federal standards and under circumstances which are clearly in the public interest.

(c)  A permit shall:

1.  Specify the manner, nature, volume, and frequency of the discharge permitted;

2.  Require proper operation and maintenance of any pollution abatement facility by qualified personnel in accordance with standards established by the department;

3.  Contain such additional conditions, requirements, and restrictions as the department deems necessary to preserve and protect the quality of the receiving waters;

4.  Be valid for the period of time specified therein; and

5.  Constitute the state National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit when issued pursuant to the authority in s. 403.0885.

(d)  An operation permit may be renewed upon application to the department if the discharge complies with permit conditions and applicable statutes and rules. No operation permit shall be renewed or issued if the department finds that the discharge will not comply with permit conditions or applicable statutes and rules.

(e)  However, if the discharge will not meet permit conditions or applicable statutes and rules, the department may issue, renew, revise, or reissue the operation permit if:

1.  The applicant is constructing, installing, or placing into operation, or has submitted plans and a reasonable schedule for constructing, installing, or placing into operation, an approved pollution abatement facility or alternative waste disposal system;

2.  The applicant needs permission to pollute the waters within the state for a period of time necessary to complete research, planning, construction, installation, or operation of an approved and acceptable pollution abatement facility or alternative waste disposal system;

3.  There is no present, reasonable, alternative means of disposing of the waste other than by discharging it into the waters of the state;

4.  The granting of an operation permit will be in the public interest;

5.  The discharge will not be unreasonably destructive to the quality of the receiving waters; or

6.  A water quality credit trade that meets the requirements of s. 403.067.

(f)  A permit issued, renewed, or reissued pursuant to paragraph (e) shall be accompanied by an order establishing a schedule for achieving compliance with all permit conditions. Such permit may require compliance with the accompanying order.

(g)  The Legislature finds that the restoration of the South Florida ecosystem is in the public interest. Accordingly, whenever a facility to be constructed, operated, or maintained in accordance with s. 373.1501, s. 373.1502, s. 373.4595, or s. 373.4592 is subjected to permitting requirements pursuant to chapter 373 or this chapter, and the issuance of the initial permit for a new source, a new discharger, or a recommencing discharger is subjected to a request for hearing pursuant to s. 120.569, the administrative law judge may, upon motion by the permittee, issue a recommended order to the secretary who, within 5 days, shall issue an order authorizing the interim construction, operation, and maintenance of the facility if it complies with all uncontested conditions of the proposed permit and all other conditions recommended by the administrative law judge during the period until the final agency action on the permit.

1.  An order authorizing such interim construction, operation, and maintenance shall be granted if requested by motion and no party opposes it.

2.  If a party to the administrative hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 opposes the motion, the administrative law judge shall issue a recommended order granting the motion if the administrative law judge finds that:

a.  The facility is likely to receive the permit; and

b.  The environment will not be irreparably harmed by the construction, operation, or maintenance of the facility pending final agency action on the permit.

3.  Prior to granting a contested motion for interim construction, operation, or maintenance of a facility regulated or otherwise permitted by s. 373.1501, s. 373.1502, s. 373.4595, or s. 373.4592, the administrative law judge shall conduct a hearing using the summary hearing process defined in s. 120.574, which shall be mandatory for motions made pursuant to this paragraph. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 120.574(1), summary hearing proceedings for these facilities shall begin within 30 days of the motion made by the permittee. Within 15 days of the conclusion of the summary proceeding, the administrative law judge shall issue a recommended order either denying or approving interim construction, operation, or maintenance of the facility, which shall be submitted to the secretary who shall within 5 days thereafter, enter an order granting or denying interim construction operation or maintenance of the facility. The order shall remain in effect until final agency action is taken on the permit.

(3)(a)  The provisions of this section shall not be construed to repeal or restrict any other provisions of this chapter, but shall be cumulative thereto.

(b)  This section shall not be construed to exempt any permittee from the pollution control requirements of any local air and water pollution control rule, regulation, ordinance, or code, or to authorize or allow any violation thereof.

(4)  Notwithstanding any act to the contrary, if the discharge from any sewage disposal or treatment plant is permitted pursuant to this chapter and by a local pollution control program, the discharge shall be deemed lawful. Further, any person, firm, corporation, or public body that constructs, reconstructs, extends, or increases the capacity or volume of any sewage disposal or treatment plant pursuant to permits or authorizations under this chapter and through any local pollution control program shall not be subject to an action by the state attorney to restrain, enjoin, or otherwise prevent such construction, reconstruction, extension, or increase.

History.--ss. 2, 3, 5, ch. 71-203; s. 1, ch. 73-360; s. 5, ch. 74-133; s. 2, ch. 76-112; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 2, ch. 78-98; s. 97, ch. 79-164; s. 60, ch. 83-218; s. 14, ch. 86-186; s. 74, ch. 93-213; s. 365, ch. 94-356; s. 1, ch. 97-98; s. 159, ch. 99-8; s. 1, ch. 99-11; s. 27, ch. 2000-153; s. 8, ch. 2001-172; s. 5, ch. 2004-64; s. 2, ch. 2008-189; s. 47, ch. 2009-86.

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