An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Majorities see government efforts to protect the environment as insufficient

Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment including water (69%) and air quality (64%). And two-thirds of Americans (67%) say the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. These findings come after a year of change in climate and energy regulatory policies under the Trump administration.

Majorities of U.S. adults say federal government is not doing enough to protect environment in these waysAt the same time, Americans are closely divided (52% to 48%) over whether or not it is possible to cut back on regulations while still effectively protecting air and water quality. There are wide political divides on this issue, with roughly three-quarters of Republicans (74%, including independents who lean Republican) convinced this is possible but 64% of Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) convinced it is not possible.

The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 27-April 9 among 2,541 adults, finds pockets of partisan agreement over expanding solar and wind power, though wide political divides remain over increasing fossil fuels through such methods as coal mining, hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, a pattern consistent with a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

Tax increase to clean up defunct golf course in Seminole County

A community that has been fighting to turn a former golf course that's contaminated with toxins into a giant park is willing to pay for it.

Rolling Hills Country Club closed in 2014, and since then, the owner has considered developing the property.

But $1.5 million is needed to clean up arsenic and other contaminants in the soil and groundwater.

Now, Seminole County commissioners, with the blessing of three-quarters of residents, will tax them over the next 15 years to clean up the property.

The county will then buy the land and gradually transform it into a nature park with hiking trails.

"It's going to be a community place. Not just in this community, but anybody can come here and walk the trails and just enjoy being out in nature. That's what Seminole County is all about," Rolling Hills resident Susan Albershardt said.

According to the county manager, the county hopes to close on the nearly $4 million purchase of the property by the middle of this summer and begin the cleanup this year.

There is no timetable for opening the park.

EPA releases 5-year review of Recreational Water Quality Criteria

The EPA has released its Five-year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), as required by the BEACH Act amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The review report describes the state of the science since the release of the 2012 RWQC, related to the protection of human health in water bodies designated for primary contact recreation (e.g., swimming) in these areas:

  • Health studies;
  • Indicators and performance of qPCR methods;
  • Microbial source tracking;
  • RWQC implementation tools; and
  • Criteria adoption by states, territories and authorized tribes.
  • Based on the EPA’s review of the existing criteria and developments in the available science, and consistent with CWA Section 304(a)(9)(B), the EPA has decided not to revise the 2012 Recreational Water Criteria during this review cycle. The Agency believes, however, that further research and analysis as identified in this report will contribute to EPA's future review of the 2012 RWQC. The EPA will work with the environmental public health community as it moves forward with its research efforts. The use of qPCR and ongoing research in methods and indicators continue to strengthen and augment the tools available to support the current criteria.

    Irma report: Devastation – and a huge warning sign

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    The forecasters got Hurricane Irma mostly right. At least compared to the predictions of past storms. That’s one of the conclusions from a National Hurricane Center report on the big storm that hit Florida last September.

    John Cangialosi is the lead author of the center’s report on Irma.

    “We’re not trying to brag here in any sense, but the Irma forecasts we had were really successful. That was very, very low errors that we made for track prediction,” Cangialosi said.

    In the future, they won’t always be so successful, he said — that’s why hurricane forecasters and emergency managers keep telling the public not to focus on the exact forecast track or even the wider cone.

    “Try to look at what might happen in your area and don’t be overly deterministic if I’m in the cone or out of the cone,” he said. “Every storm will be different, so let’s take these one at a time and please don’t compare systems over time like say, ‘Oh I survived Irma, I’ll be OK with the next one.’ They really are very different.”