Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Sierra Club Slime Crime Photos:   JohnMoranPhoto.com

Green Slime On the Santa Fe River

HIGH SPRINGS, FL - This Memorial Day weekend, red, white and blue weren't the only colors visible on Florida waterways. Visitors also saw green "summer slime" on the water in some parts of the state. The unwanted color is caused by blooms or outbreaks of algae, fed by a toxic combination of industrial pollution, sewage, manure and fertilizer. The latest outbreak is on the Santa Fe River.

Link of interest:
Earth Justice
Sierra Club and more slime crime photos
Florida Water Coalition
EPA - Proposed Extension of Effective Date for Water Quality Standards

David Guest, an attorney for Earthjustice in Florida, says the current river conditions are very different than they were just a few years ago.

"Even in fairly deep water, you could drop a quarter off the side of your boat and you could see it on the bottom. That's how clear it was; it was a beautiful place to swim."

Florida's water-quality standards have been the source of debate in recent years. Environmental groups are asking for President Obama to stand by the EPA in its enforcement of clean water rules.

After repeated pushes by environmental groups and the EPA, Florida adopted numeric standards for water quality levels last year. But critics contend they are still not strong enough, keeping the state from taking action against polluters without several years of data.

Guest says the lax standards are having an impact on rivers like the Santa Fe.

"Now, it's turned to this sickening green slime. It's a real tragedy that something like that could happen to such a beautiful place."

New, tougher water quality standards from the EPA will take effect in Florida in June. It's estimated that they will cost at least $135 million annually to implement, which translates to about 60 cents a month per person, statewide.

Original Headline: Green Slime Outbreak on Florida Waterway

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