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2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
376.307 Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund.—
(1) The Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund is intended to serve as a broad-based fund for use in responding to incidents of contamination that pose a serious danger to the quality of groundwater and surface water resources or otherwise pose a serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare. Moneys in this fund may be used:
(a) To carry out the provisions of ss. 376.30-376.317, relating to assessment, cleanup, restoration, monitoring, and maintenance of any site involving spills, discharges, or escapes of pollutants or hazardous substances which occur as a result of procedures taken by private and governmental entities involving the storage, transportation, and disposal of such products.
(b) To carry out the provisions of s. 376.3078, relating to assessment, cleanup, restoration, monitoring, and maintenance of sites involving drycleaning products.
(c) For activities to expeditiously restore or replace potable water supplies as provided in s. 376.30(3)(c)1.
(d) For response actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
(e) To restore or replace contaminated private potable water wells or water systems. However, funds used as provided in this paragraph must be expended for water supply systems or filters for contaminated potable water wells only as follows:
1. Persons who have contaminated potable water wells that were permitted and constructed after January 1, 1989, in accordance with standards adopted under s. 373.309 are eligible for:
a. Subsidies to connect to existing water supply systems or extensions thereof. However, the subsidy may not exceed the present worth of the 10-year cost of providing and maintaining filters for residents served by the connections; or
b. Filters and filter maintenance to provide treatment for water from contaminated wells sufficient to ensure its potability. However, a filter may not be provided for a potable water well designed to provide water to a household that is part of a subdivision or development of a size that would, according to the department, be more effectively served by a water supply system, if the subdivision or development received its development order after January 1, 1989.
2. Subsidies to develop new water supply systems to be permitted and constructed after January 1, 1989, in accordance with standards adopted pursuant to s. 373.309 because of actual or potential contamination of potable water wells. However, a subsidy may not exceed one-half of the present worth of the 10-year cost of providing and maintaining filters for the residents to be served by the system.
3. The most cost-effective remedy, as determined by the department, for wells drilled before January 1, 1989.
4. Persons permitting and constructing potable water wells on or after July 1, 1997, in accordance with standards adopted pursuant to s. 373.309 because of actual or potential contamination, may be eligible for:
a. Subsidies or filters as identified in sub-subparagraphs 1.a. and b.; or
b. Subsidies for any increased costs associated with potable water well construction pursuant to s. 373.309(1)(e)4., provided that no such subsidy shall exceed one-half the cost of the well including testing, or one-half the present worth of the 10-year cost of providing and maintaining filters for the residents to be served by said well, whichever is less, provided that the household is not part of a subdivision or development of a size that would, according to the department, be more effectively served by a water supply system, if such subdivision or development received its development order on or after July 1, 1997.
(f) For activities by the department to administer brownfield sites.
(g) For detailed planning for and implementation of programs for the management and restoration of ecosystems.
(h) For development and implementation of surface water improvement and management plans and programs under ss. 373.451-373.4595.
(i) For activities to restore polluted areas of the state, as defined by the department, to their condition before pollution occurred or to otherwise enhance pollution control activities.
(j) For activities undertaken by the department to recover moneys as a result of actions against a person for a violation of chapter 373.
(k) For funding activities described in s. 403.086(10) which are authorized for implementation under the Leah Schad Memorial Ocean Outfall Program.
(l) For funding activities to restore or rehabilitate injured or destroyed coral reefs.
(2) Moneys in the fund may not be expended for sites eligible for funding under ss. 376.3071 and 376.3073, relating to the Inland Protection Trust Fund.
(3) Moneys in the fund may not be expended to clean up hazardous waste that a federal agency is removing from navigable waters in accordance with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, established pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Pub. L. No. 92-500, as amended, or that the department is removing from any coastal waters, estuaries, tidal flats, beaches, or lands adjoining the coastline of the state pursuant to this chapter.
(4) The trust fund shall be funded as follows:
(a) An annual transfer of interest funds from the Florida Coastal Protection Trust Fund pursuant to s. 376.11(6)(g).
(b) All excise taxes levied, collected, and credited to the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund in accordance with the provisions of ss. 206.9935(2) and 206.9945(1)(b).
(c) All penalties, judgments, recoveries, reimbursements, and other fees and charges related to the enforcement of ss. 376.30-376.317, other than penalties, judgments, and other fees and charges related to the enforcement of ss. 376.3071 and 376.3073.
(d) The fee on the retail sale of lead-acid batteries credited to the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund under s. 403.7185.
(e) All penalties, judgments, recoveries, reimbursements, loans, and other fees and charges collected under s. 376.3078; tax revenues levied, collected, and credited under ss. 376.70 and 376.75; and registration fees collected under s. 376.303(1)(d).
(f) All civil penalties recovered pursuant to s. 373.129(5)(a).
(h) Moneys collected pursuant to s. 403.121 and designated for deposit into the Water Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
(i) Moneys recovered by the state as a result of actions initiated by the department against a person for a violation of chapter 373 or chapter 403.
(j) Damages recovered pursuant to s. 403.93345 for coral reef protection.
(k) Funds available for the Leah Schad Memorial Ocean Outfall Program pursuant to s. 403.08601.
(l) Funds received by the state for injury to or destruction of coral reefs, which funds would otherwise be deposited into the General Revenue Fund or the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. The department may enter into settlement agreements that require responsible parties to pay a third party to fund projects related to the restoration of a coral reef, to accomplish mitigation for injury to a coral reef, or to support the activities of law enforcement agencies related to coral reef injury response, investigation, and assessment. Participation of a law enforcement agency in the receipt of funds through this mechanism shall be at the law enforcement agency’s discretion.
(m) Moneys from sources otherwise specified by law.
(5) Except as otherwise provided by law, the department shall recover to the use of the fund from a person or persons at any time causing or having caused the discharge or from the Federal Government, jointly and severally, all sums owed or expended from the fund, pursuant to s. 376.308, except that the department may decline to pursue such recovery if it finds the amount involved too small or the likelihood of recovery too uncertain. Sums recovered as a result of damage due to discharge of a pollutant or other similar disaster shall be apportioned between the fund and the General Revenue Fund so as to repay the full costs to the General Revenue Fund of any sums disbursed therefrom as a result of such disaster. Any request for reimbursement to the fund for such costs, if not paid within 30 days of demand, shall be turned over to the department for collection.
(6) Moneys in the fund which are not needed currently to meet the obligations of the department in the exercise of its responsibilities under this section shall be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the fund and may be invested in such manner as is provided for by statute. The interest received on such investment shall be credited to the fund. Any provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, such interest may be freely transferred between this trust fund and the Inland Protection Trust Fund, in the discretion of the department.
(7) Except as otherwise provided by law, the department, in administering the fund, shall diligently pursue the reimbursement to the fund of any sum expended from the fund in accordance with this section for cleanup and abatement, unless the department finds the amount involved too small or the likelihood of recovery too uncertain. For the purposes of s. 95.11, the limitation period within which to institute an action to recover such sums commences on the last date on which any such sums were expended, and not the date that the discharge occurred.
(8) A settlement entered into by the department may not limit the Legislature’s authority to appropriate moneys from the trust fund; however, the department may enter into a settlement in which the department agrees to request that moneys received pursuant to the settlement will be included in its legislative budget request for purposes set out in the settlement; and further, the department may enter into a settlement in cases involving joint enforcement with the Hillsborough County pollution control program, as a program approved by the department pursuant to s. 403.182, in which the department agrees that moneys are to be deposited into that local program’s pollution recovery fund and used for projects directed toward addressing the environmental damage that was the subject of the cause of action for which funds were received.
History.—s. 84, ch. 83-310; s. 3, ch. 83-353; s. 10, ch. 84-338; ss. 3, 14, 34, ch. 86-159; s. 82, ch. 86-163; s. 4, ch. 88-393; s. 9, ch. 89-171; s. 72, ch. 90-331; s. 14, ch. 91-305; s. 5, ch. 92-75; s. 300, ch. 94-356; s. 48, ch. 96-321; s. 31, ch. 97-160; s. 391, ch. 2003-261; s. 1, ch. 2005-57; s. 61, ch. 2007-5; s. 56, ch. 2015-229; s. 38, ch. 2020-150.