Standards will clean up Suwannee

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By Claude Lewis

Back in 1972, the Federal Clean Water Act was passed by Congress and President Nixon, setting guidelines to ensure that our nation's rivers remain healthy and clean.

It has taken most states a long time to take action.

Some like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Kansas, got their acts together quicker than others by drawing up widespread measures.

Many others, including Florida, dragged their feet - waiting until their backs were against the wall.

Thanks to a lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998, Florida agreed to come up with a detailed agenda to comply with the CWA.

The EPA agreed to a 13-year schedule with plans for high priority waterways due first and low priority waters second.

Ten years later, Florida is prepared to set its "Total Maximum Daily Load" standards for the Suwannee River basin, a low priority.

A public workshop presenting the draft TMDLs was held last Thursday, July 10, at the Florida DOT building in Chiefland.

Heading up the workshop was the Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, Andrew Bartlett, and his staff.

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