Saturday, September 21, 2019

Water Quality Continues to be a Hot Topic


Marco Island City Council met, once again, late April in a workshop forum to continue their discussion relative to water quality. This is the second such workshop regarding the elusive issue plaguing the entire State of Florida, and especially South Florida.

Rick Woodworth, Chairman of the Waterways Committee. | Photos by Steve Stefanides

In an earlier workshop format, they would agree to fund additional water testing in their 2019-20 budget deliberations. Presently, they pay Collier County to do that testing on a quarterly basis, but will move to a monthly basis and expand their points of testing. The issue of testing off-shore waters is another component that some on council have suggested they look at.

Five of the seven councilors would present “white papers” that would detail many of their thoughts on what could be undertaken regarding water quality issues. Those papers dealt with items such as creating a “Adopt a Canal Program, a paper on Re-Use Water, a proposal from the University of Florida to provide a two year study of Marco waterways that could cost upwards to $285,000 (if all aspects of it are undertaken), in addition to other proposals by the five councilors.

Bob Roth of the Waterways Committee would suggest the city look at the purchase of a street vacuum unit to help in the elimination of road contaminates that may end up in the city waterways as they drain off from residential roadways. Presently the city only owns a street sweeper which moves the contaminates off to the sides of the streets.

Both Councilors Howard Reed and Charlette Roman made strong suggestions to their fellow councilors to instruct the City Manager to engage with his staff to undertake the continued review of the water quality issue and advise council of their needs for funding to bring forth a comprehensive plan for addressing those environmental issues, with proposals for capital costs associated with that plan. Council will shortly be entering into their annual budget deliberations.

Marco Island City Council and the public listen to a University of Florida representative explain the parameters of a study they may undertake.

Council was able to agree that more emphasis must be made regarding enforcement of the newly adopted Fertilizer Ordinance. That, and education for residents and landscapers be a part of that process, with enforcement to be paramount.

Rick Woodworth, Chairperson of the Waterways Committee came forward to advise council that the committee had voted to defer their existing $10,000 budget allocated to them for 2018-19 to help with the cost of increase water testing over the next 4 months.

The Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee Chairperson, Maria Lamb would strongly suggest that an Environmental Specialist be hired who would report directly to the City Manager. That specialist position would deal specifically with water quality, beach issues and wildlife protection.

All these issues will sure to be major points of discussion during the upcoming city budget review that will begin shortly and conclude by the end of September for the start of the next fiscal year beginning October 1, 2019.

 

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