Who We Are
The Florida Onsite Wastewater Association (FOWA) is the state’s largest organization for the onsite wastewater industry. Our mission is to promote the science and art of manufacturing and installing onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDSs) as well as to advance the standards of manufacturing, installing, repairing, and maintaining onsite treatment receptacles by working toward a uniformly enforced state code containing stringent standards for the design, installation, and service of OSTDSs with a commitment to protecting water resources and the environment.
What is the Florida Water Bill?
The Florida Water Bill (Senate Bill 552) is a bipartisan legislative effort establishing a comprehensive policy addressing both water quantity and water quality. When signed into law on January 21, 2016, this legislation changed how the state regulates water use and water quality. The legislation covers topics ranging from OSTDSs to agriculture, fertilizer use, and stormwater. This document provides an overview addressing OSTDSs.
What are Basin Management Action Plans?
Basin management action plans or BMAPs are broad-based plans developed for restoring impaired waters. The goal of any BMAP is to reduce pollutant loadings in order to meet allowable loadings established in a total maximum daily load (TMDL). The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) coordinates nutrient load limitations. The principal nutrient regulated by DEP is nitrogen, which is released to the environment through agricultural activities, livestock operations, fertilizer application, stormwater, atmospheric deposition, and OSTDSs. BMAPs address the management of the entire pollution load for a watershed and can include permitting requirements, effluent limitations, best management practices, waste minimization, pollution prevention, public education, public works projects, and land acquisition. Click here to link to the DEP’s BMAP web page and view a full-size version of the BMAP delineation.
What Triggers BMAP Remediation?
Within a BMAP, if DEP determines that OSTDSs contribute at least 20 percent of nonpoint source nitrogen pollution to an outstanding Florida spring, or if DEP determines remediation is necessary to achieve the TMDL for nitrogen, the BMAP will include an OSTDS remediation plan for those systems identified as requiring remediation.
How are BMAP Remediation Plans Developed?
When OSTDS remediation is necessary for an outstanding Florida spring, DEP, the Department of Health, local governments, and wastewater utilities must develop an OSTDS remediation plan. The plan must identify cost-effective and financially feasible projects necessary to reduce the nutrient impacts from OSTDSs. The remediation plan must include options for OSTDS repair, upgrade, replacement; drainfield modification; addition of effective nitrogen reducing features; connection to a central sewerage system; or other action.
How can FOWA Members Participate?
The BMAP process includes public meetings where members can participate. It also includes the formation of public committees to provide recommendations to DEP on remediation plans. FOWA members can speak positively at public meetings about the advantages of OSTDS compared to central sewer systems. This effort can help drive remediation plans toward onsite options, as compared to central sewer connection. Sign up for BMAP public meeting email notifications by clicking here.