Around 12 percent of public water systems in Florida are violating pollution regulations, often in ways which pose a risk to public health, according to a new report by a watchdog group.
The nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility released a report this month analyzing data from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A few findings from the report, per a statement from the group:
- Nearly 700 of the roughly 5,300 public water systems in Florida are out of compliance with safe drinking water rules;
- Despite nearly 2,000 individual safe drinking water violations, including 295 violations involving exceedances of maximum contamination limits for things such as total coliform, chemicals, radionuclides and disinfection byproducts (DEP) opened only five enforcement cases in 2015 and assessed relatively small fines in only two; and
- Both the number of enforcement cases and the amount of penalties assessed has plummeted since 2010, with the number of assessments in potable water cases dropping from 141 to only 2 (a 98 percent nosedive) and the total amount of fines assessed plunging from roughly a quarter-million dollars to a mere $12,000 (a more than 95 percent falloff) in 2015.