Senate approves pollution notification plan

(Photo by Jerry McGovern)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill aimed at increasing notification of the public about potentially dangerous pollution spills.

The bill (SB 532), filed by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, was filed after controversy last year about pollution incidents involving a sinkhole at a phosphate plant in Polk County and sewage discharges into Tampa Bay.

"It is a very important," Galvano said. "People have a right to know, and it's at the heart of public safety."

Under the bill, owners or operators of facilities responsible for pollution would be required to submit reports within 24 hours to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The department, in turn, would be required to post the information online within 24 hours and create a subscription system for people to receive the notices.

A similar bill (HB 1065) has not been heard in House committees.