From: Associated Press
Published July 28, 2006 12:00 AM

No Improvement in Florida Sewage Spill Reporting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state of Florida has failed to improve its record of reporting sewage spills into local waters and along beaches, an environmental group said Thursday in a follow-up to a study it released last year.


According to the follow-up study, "Are We Still Wading in Waste?," the state accounted for 44 million (166 million liters) to 51 million gallons (193 million liters) of wastewater and sewage spilled last year.


"This is only a drop in the bucket of what may really be happening," said Kathleen Aterno, the fund's Florida director, in a statement.


"Not only has little changed in how spills are being reported, it appears that no one, including the state, counties and the public, is getting the full picture of how much sewage is actually spilling in our communities," she added.


The study notes that a 250,000-gallon (950,000-liter) sewage spill that closed beaches in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach last year is nowhere to be found in the Division of Emergency Management's "State Warning Point" data although it had been highlighted in the fund's 2005 study.


In other instances the state simply listed "unknown amounts" for various spills.


Division of Emergency Management spokesman Mike Stone had no immediate comment on the study itself, but he said the data is collected to help state and local agencies respond quickly to the spills rather than for record-keeping purposes.


Source: Associated Press


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