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Publication #FE597

Handbook of Florida Water Regulation: Florida Department of Health1

Michael T. Olexa and Sean Crisafulli2

Preface

This handbook is designed to provide an accurate, current, and authoritative summary of the principal federal and state (Florida) laws that directly or indirectly relate to agriculture. This handbook provides a basic overview of the many rights and responsibilities that farmers and farmland owners have under both federal and state laws as well as the appropriate contact information to obtain more detailed information. However, the reader should be aware that because the laws, administrative rulings, and court decisions on which this handbook is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. Several details of cited laws are also left out due to space limitations.

This handbook is distributed with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice, and the information contained herein should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. This handbook is not all inclusive in providing information to achieve compliance with the federal and state laws and regulations governing water protection. For these reasons, the use of these materials by any person constitutes an agreement to hold harmless the authors, the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the University of Florida for any liability claims, damages, or expenses that may be incurred by any person as a result of reference to or reliance on the information contained in this handbook.

FDOH Overview

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is largely responsible for implementing procedures to promote and protect public health and safety. Farmers must be concerned with FDOH when they are involved in activities that might pollute public drinking supplies. Of particular concern to the agency is sewage pollution of Florida's groundwater.

FDOH issues permits for construction or installation of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems. These permits include requirements for the following:

  • Distance and set-backs from wells and surface waters

  • Soil conditions

  • Estimated seasonal high water table

  • Daily flow thresholds (see FE614, OSTD)

Written permits issued through the local county health department branch of FDOH are required prior to constructing any onsite sewage treatment and disposal system. Unlawful deposition of filth or polluting substances can be punished by FDOH.

More information about FDOH can be found at the FDOH website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/.

Acknowledgments

The authors are indebted to the personnel of both state and federal agencies who provided their time and advice in the preparation of this handbook. We wish to acknowledge Carol Fountain and Travis Prescott at the University of Florida for their assistance in editing this handbook.

Footnotes

1.

This is EDIS document FE597, a publication of the Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Published December 2005, revised June 2011 and April 2015. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Michael T. Olexa, professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, and director, UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law, University of Florida, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL, and member of The Florida Bar. Sean Crisafulli, student, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.