Written by Shareholder Howard E. Fox
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently issued as a final, effective emergency order a new pollution incident public reporting rule: 62-4.161, Florida Administrative Code. In short, the crux of the rule requires that within 24 hours of occurrence or discovery of the pollution “any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation shall provide notice of the pollution.” Such notice must be provided to DEP, the local government and the general public--- as well as property owner(s) of any affected area should the pollution extend offsite. DEP is currently holding rulemaking workshops on a permanent version of the new rule. Several utilities and municipal governments have begun reporting pollution incidents already. While this rule may be viewed as a burden by some, DEP has found that “notification to the public is necessary regarding any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state such that public health could be at risk.”
Please click here to directly access the Rule.