Health Effects, Sources, and Practical Solutions

The Problem

Numeric Nutrient Pollution Fact Sheet

White Paper: Valuing Florida’s Clean Waters

In the first comprehensive review of its kind, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), based at Tufts University, has released a white paper entitled Valuing Florida’s Clean Waters. The paper finds that algae and red tide outbreaks caused by water pollution cost Floridians between $1.3 billion and $10.5 billion each year.

Download report

Download the new Florida Water Coalition brochure here.

Florida Water Coalition brochure

The Water Didn’t Always Look Like This

Throughout history, Florida has been known for its clear, sandy-bottomed rivers, streams, lakes, springs, bays and beaches—places of beauty and revitalization that draw visitors from around the globe.

Dead Mojarra/Sand Bream and Jack, west of Franklin LockToday, many of the postcard-perfect blue waters that make Florida a tourist mecca are coming up green and choked with nasty, toxic algae. It has happened in front of pricey waterfront mansions. It has happened in rural streams, where neighbors fish for food. And it has happened along famous beaches, where horrified tourists and residents watch as the waves toss up hundreds of dead fish.

The culprit behind this environmental and economic crisis? Pollution caused by inadequately treated sewage, manure and fertilizer. This pollution is preventable. Now that we know more about how the nitrogen and phosphorus in sewage, manure and fertilizer tip Florida’s delicate ecological balance, we have a responsibility to do something about it. We know that excess nitrogen and phosphorus spur these toxic algae outbreaks. And we know the way to make Florida’s waters clean again is to limit this pollution at its source.

Industrial PollutersThe fact is, industrial polluters have been using public waters as their cheap, private sewers for years. Now, they are bringing considerable political and monetary forces to fight against clean water standards that the public overwhelmingly supports. It is time for Florida to establish limits on the water pollution that threatens families’ health and drinking water.

This pollution is poisoning the rivers, lakes and streams that supply the water to kitchen taps. Floridians deserve clean drinking water, not water polluted with sewage, fertilizer and manure runoff.

Protecting Your Family from Toxic Algae
Protecting Our Economy From Algae Outbreaks
The Source of Toxic Algae Outbreaks
Setting Clear Pollution Limits
Preventing Toxic Algae Outbreaks
Updated Sewage Treatment Plants
Better Manure Management


Recent News and Editorial:

Earthjustice release – State Workers Not Allowed to Say Climate Change – (3/9/2015)

Legislature’s Draft Water Policy Bill Benefits Polluters, Hurts Citizens (2/12/2015)

Florida residents have spoken: Conserve land and water – Ocala Star Banner (1/11/15)



Defend our waters against the polluters – Tampa Bay Times (12/1/2014)

Have a glass of nitrates – (9/7/2014)

Algae blooms keep killing lagoon fish – (8/28/2014)

Disney Building Fake Florida Spring: Really – (8/27/2014)

Editorial: Water warnings – (8/8/2014)

Largest Red Tide since 2006 not far off Gulf Coast – Tampa Bay Times (8/5/2014)

Algae bloom the size of Rhode Island lurks in the Gulf – WINK-TV (7/30/2014)

Lurking red tide bloom generates gloomy outlook – News-Press (7/30/2014)

City of Sanibel gets an update on the ‘Slime Monster’ – (6/4/2014)

Column: How a good springs bill died – Tampa Bay Times (5/6/2014)

Editorial: Victory for clean water – Tampa Bay Times (4/10/2014)

Environmentalists appeal Florida water ruling – Bradenton Herald (4/6/2014)

Perspective: What I would have said about water (w/video) – Tampa Bay Times (4/4/14)

Volusia springs, Indian River Lagoon could get protection – Daytona Beach News-Journal (3/4/2014)

Counties fighting Florida to keep fertilizer from ruining waterways – Bradenton Herald (2/27/2014)

Relinquishing federal oversight of waters in SW Florida is not in our best interest – News-Press (2/25/2014)

Water woes plague Florida, but only funding, not policy change, up for legislative discussion – AP (2/25/2014)

Clean up Florida’s dirty springs – Miami Herald (2/23/2014)

Editorial: When caring just isn’t enough – (2/17/2014)

Fixing our springs takes political will – (2/17/2014)

Political will needed to heal our springs – Gainesville Sun (2/14/2014)

Twenty-four groups sign letter objecting to draft springs legislation – The Florida Current (2/5/2014)

Industry groups don’t want new rules to protect Florida’s springs – Tampa Bay Times (2/4/2014)

To heal Florida springs, hold polluters accountable – Orlandon Sentinel (1/31/2014)

What The Water ‘Declaration’ Actually Does – wfsu (1/24/2014)

Environmental groups call for clean water pledge – (1/23/2014)

Florida Citizens Unite in the Fight for Clean Water – Public News Service (1/23/2014)

Florida’s Clean Water Declaration – (1/21/2014)

Environmentalists to protest water quality in Florida – Tampa Tribune (1/20/14)

Algae blooms litter Lee County beaches, stink - Fort Myers News Press (1/13/2014)

Federal judge signs off on water pollution limits – AP (1/7/2014)



Algae Bloom In Tallahassee’s Lake Lafayette – wfsu (12/17/2013)

In Orlando, dozens of eco-groups join to demand water protections – Bloomberg Businessweek (12/13/2013)

Former manager of 2 water districts urges more protections – Orlando Sentinel (11/17/2013)

Farmers to reform practices for springs – Hernando Today (11/16/2013)

Florida Marine Life Dying From Pollution – University of Miami (11/14/2013)

Water issues plague Southwest Florida waters – WINK-TV (11/13/2013)

Action plan for toxic algae – ActionNewsJax (11/12/2013)

Early signs of red tide in SWFL – NBC2 (11/11/2013)

Harmful algae invades the Florida Keys – WPTV-5 (11/11/2013)

Fouling Florida’s environment? Simply insane – Tampa Bay Times (10/14/2013)

Algal blooms reach toxic levels on the St. Johns – St. Augustine Record (10/11/2013)

Photos capture the disgusting reality of Florida’s water pollution - Salon (10/2/2013)

Time Running Out for Vital Waterway – NBC Nightly News (9/29/2013)

Choking on algae and anger is no way to live – (9/29/2013)

Report: Polluted farm runoff linked to toxic green algae slime in U.S. waters – Washington Post (9/26/2013)

With Murky Water And Manatee Deaths, Lagoon Languishes – NPR National: Morning Edition (9/26/2013)

City of Stuart wants state to seize US Sugar land (8/28/2013)

St. Lucie officials want to join with Martin County to take necessary action to restore area waterways (8/27/2013)

Residents protest pollutants in Lake Okeechobee, potential flooding
WSVN (8/26/2013)

CARL HIAASEN: Clueless to crisis in our environment
Miami Herald (8/24/13)

Florida Realtors: Lake O Releases Are Hurting Tourism, Second Home Sales
WGCU-FM (8/22/2013)

Negron: Feds should not have sole jurisdiction on Lake Okeechobee releases
The Palm Beach Post (8/22/2013)

Senate Committee Meeting focuses on short term solutions to Lake Okeechobee discharges
WPTV (8/22/2013)

A symbol of Florida’s environmental degradation
Miami Herald Editorial (8/21/2013)

9 investigates dolphin, manatee deaths in Indian River Lagoon – BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.
WFTV (8/21/2013)

Sanibel Island affected by Lake O releases
Fox4Now (8/21/2013)

Hundreds gather at St. Lucie Lock, Florida Governor Scott snubs crowd during tour
Governor Scott waves at crowd, walks away

WPTV (8/20/2013)

Sen. Bill Nelson takes tour of now-toxic St. Lucie River
WPFB-TV (8/15/2013)

Toxic Water: Swimmers search for safe spot to cool off
WPTV5 (8/12/2013)

Emotions Run High At Water Advisory Panel In Jensen Beach
CBS12 (8/9/2013)

Algae samples from St. Lucie Estuary test positive for toxins | Map, Photos (8/6/2013)

St. Lucie River Conditions Worsen: Salinity Levels Close To Zero At Inlet
WPEC-TV (8/5/2013)

Residents Of Stuart Rally Against Toxic Algae In The St Lucie River
WPEC-TV (8/4/2013)

Toxic algae confirmed in St. Lucie River; residents urged to avoid contact

Martin County health officials testing algae
TCPalm (7/29/2013)

Toxic Green And Black Goo Coating The Indian River Lagoon
WPEC-TV (7/19/2013)

Big algae bloom fouls Biscayne Bay
Miami Herald (7/19/2013)

Toxins on Indian River Lagoon seaweed might be killing manatees, but mystery remains
Tampa Bay Times (7/17/2013)

Mysterious Manatee and Dolphin Deaths in Florida Confound Scientists
Wired Science (7/11/2013)

Algae blooms sliming Wekiwa Springs, River
WFTV (7/2/2013)

David Guest: Legislature could stop algae outbreaks, but . . .
Sun Sentinel (6/26/2013)

Biologists race to solve mysterious mass animal deaths in Florida lagoon
FoxNews (6/19/2013)

‘Green Monster’ returns to the St. Johns River
Florida Times-Union (6/18/2013)

Indian River Lagoon mystery ailment killing dolphins, manatees, pelicans
Tampa Bay Times (6/16/2013)

Algae bloom in two lakes, river prompt warning to say out of water
Orlando Sentinel (6/14/2013)

Rick Scott’s Cuts Dilute Water Laws, Endanger Sea Life
Miami New Times (6/6/2013)

Editorial: Saving our springs
Gainesville Sun (5/30/2013)

Officials want to transplant seagrass to Lagoon ‘bald spots’
FloridaToday (5/29/2013)

State officials fiddling while the Wekiva dies
Orlando Sentinel (5/29/2013)

Water managers accused of foot-dragging while paddling down polluted Wekiva River
Orlando Sentinel (5/26/2013)

Water bills stream through House, flow towards governor – Florida Current (5/1/2013)

House approves water pollution bill
AP (5/1/2013)

House Says No To Tracking Sickness Caused By Toxic Algae
WFSU (4/30/13)

Judge indicates he may rule against delay of federal water quality rules
Florida Current (4/11/2013)

Florida Algae Bloom Leads to Record Manatee Deaths
New York Times (4/6/2013)

Ron Littlepage: Shall we be complicit in the demise of Florida’s waters? (4/3/2013)

Springs revival languishes in Legislature
Tampa Bay Times (4/2/2013)

Brevard’s manatee, pelican deaths still a mystery
FloridaToday (3/26/2013)

Column: Lousy water, lousy press for Florida
Tampa Bay Times (3/26/2013)

Environmentalists: EPA and Florida DEP Struck “Back Room Deal”
PNS (3/18/2013)

EPA cuts deal with Florida on pollution rules, delighting business and angering environmentalists
Tampa Bay Tribune (3/15/2013)

Florida, feds announce pollution deal
Miami Herald (3/15/2013)

State, feds strike deal on water pollution limits
AP (3/15/2013)

Paralyzing algae is killing manatees at record pace in Florida
Today Show, NBC National (3/11/2013)

Schultz commentary: Big Sugar mounts new attack on the Everglades
Palm Beach Post (3/10/2013)

Record-breaking number of manatees killed by Red Tide
Tampa Bay Times (3/8/2013)

Lingering red tide creating confusion, cancellations
ABC-7 Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples (2/28/2013)

Water quality crucial to Floridians, UF survey finds (2/20/2013)

EPA proposes strict water standards for Florida
Sun Sentinel (2/18/2013)

Lease of FL Lands to Farming Plantations Called a “Sweetheart Deal”
Public News Service FL (2/8/2013)

Everglades agriculture leases being challenged
AP/Naples News (2/8/2013)

Wildlife Federation sues Rick Scott and Cabinet over Everglades leases
Miami Herald (2/7/2013)

Editorial: The leadership drought on water
Ocala Star Banner (2/7/2013)

Editorial: Florida’s twisted waterways policy
Tampa Bay Times (2/4/2013)

DEP’s part-time $83-an-hour employee helped oversee layoffs and agency shakeup
Tampa Bay times (2/3/2013)

Florida’s aquifer models full of holes, allowing more water permits and pollution
Tampa Bay Times (1/28/2013)

Red tide, fish kill reported at Sarasota beaches
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (1/18/2013)

Tampa is latest stop in water regulation fight
Tampa Bay Online (1/17/2013)

Locals protesting to keep Florida water clean
NBC2 (1/17/2013)

Public speaks out on pollution at Tampa meeting
AP/Miami Herald (1/17/2013)

Floridians Stand Up for Clean Water at EPA Meetings in Tampa
Florida Water Coalition (1/17/2013)

Nutrient pollution standards and the Everglades
Gulf Coast Live WGCU (1/9/2013)

Natural Florida needs stewards, not profiteers – Tampa Bay Times (1/6/2013)

Protecting Florida’s polluters
Tampa Bay Times (1/5/2013)

Red tide has tourism industry on edge
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (1/3/2013)

Saving Florida’s rivers: Urgent task can no longer be postponed
Miami Herald (1/2/2013)



Foxes guard the henhouse Governor gives industry insiders too much sway over regulation – Miami Herald (12/31/2012)

Cleaning up Florida’s water, finally – Tampa Bay Times (12/28/2012)

Florida environmental agency lays off longtime employees and hires from regulated industries – Tampa Bay Times (12/25/2012)

Drive to keep Kings Bay from being smothered by toxic algae treats symptom, not cause – Tampa Bay Times (12/17/2012)

EPA’s Decision a Good One for Estero Bay – The Island Sand Paper (12/13/2012)

EPA limits mean cleaner water – Orlando Sentinel (12/12/2012)

Editorial: EPA must protect Florida waterways – Palm Beach Post (12/12/2012)

Finally, precise rules on pollution to protect Florida waters – Bradenton Herald (12/11/2012)

Taking on red tide scourge – Gasparilla Gazette (12/10/2012)

EPA steps in: Decision does a favor for Floridians – (12/7/2012)

Editorial: Water’s value  – Gainesville Sun (12/4/2012)

EPA tells judge it will impose stricter water pollution standards on Florida – Tampa Bay Tribune (12/1/2012)

Florida’s Vanishing Springs – A Tampa Bay Times Investigation (11/25/2012)

Red tide toxins making beach birds sick – WINK-TV (11/17/2012)

Potential algae bloom blamed for itchy eyes, sore throats – WKMG-TV6 (11/16/2012)

Red tide moving into Lee County – News-Press (10/19/2012)

Despite protection, Wekiva River’s health, flow continue to decline – Orlando Sentinel (10/13/2012)

Worst red tide outbreak since 2007- Sarasota Herald Tribune (10/9/2012)

Slime torrent polluting state’s coast – Miami Herald (10/6/2012)

Poor quality of water hurts state economy – Sun Sentinel (10/2/2012)

Brown tide hammering Indian River Lagoon and its fish – Orlando Sentinel (9/28/2012)

Scientists link nutrient pollution to coral bleaching – (9/27/2012)

Brown tide ebbs, but it may return to Mosquito Lagoon – (9/26/2012)

Andrew McElwaine: No room for ‘dirty water rules’ – The Gainesville Sun (9/24/2012)

In summer, toxic blue-green algae blooms plague freshwater – Center for Investigative Reporting (9/17/2012)

Algae bloom believed cause of dead fish in Indian River – Daytona Beach News Journal (9/12/2012)

Back-to-back algae outbreaks threaten all life in Indian River Lagoon – Orlando Sentinel (8/20/2012)

Algae bloom turns Mosquito Lagoon brown – Daytona Beach News-Journal (8/13/2012)

Brown algae blooming at Mosquito Lagoon could cause serious problems – WFTV Orlando (8/13/2012)

Scott, Vinyard Pushing Weaker Protections For Bodies of Water – The Lakeland Ledger (8/7/12)

Boat captain/nurse concerned about health of Silver River – Ocala Star-Banner (8/2/2012)

Algae bloom threatens Indian River Lagoon seagrass, with implications for Treasure Coast – TCPalm (8/1/2012)

A fight to save the Caloosahatchee River – Fort Myers News Press (7/30/2012)

Groups file suit against Corps over river – Jacksonville Daily Record (7/24/2012)

Florida environmental groups sue over algae blooms – AP/Miami Herald – The Miami Herald (7/23/2012)

Lawsuit to clean up Caloosahatchee River – Fox 4 Ft. Myers (7/23/2012)

Environmental group files lawsuit over South Florida river contamination – WFSU FM (7/23/2012)

Editorial: Is anybody listening?- Ocala Star Banner (7/22/2012)

Possibly toxic algae spotted in Caloosahatchee -  ABC7 Ft. Myers (7/14/2012)

Will Florida save its springs or let them die? – Orlando Sentinel (7/8/2012)

We expect more of our leaders – (7/2/2012)

Water quality war rages on – Gainesville Sun (7/3/2012)

Why we need the EPA’s strong rules to Protect Florida’s Waters – Sierra Club Florida News 6/29/2012)

Slime is a statewide problem; we need to act – Naples News-Press (6/25/2012)

Toxic algae in pond blamed for deaths of 4 cows  – AP (6/25/2012)

The DEP is blind to state’s ‘green slime‘ – Gainesville Sun 6/11/2012)

Get on with it – Gainesville Sun  (6/3/2012)

Santa Fe River: Pumping, Pollution, Privation – Lakeland Ledger (6/2/2012)

The river is slimed – Ocala Star Banner (5/30/2012)

Editorial: This isn’t right – The Gainesville Sun (5/26/12)

Algae develops on drought-depleted Santa Fe River – Gainesville Sun (5/23/2012)

Florida’s ‘perfect storm’ water crisis – Gainesville Sun (5/8/2012)

Algae ‘mat’ choking lake – Punta Gorda Herald (5/3/2012)

Summer Slime: A Slippery Slope – The Bradenton Times (4/28/2012)

Florida environmentalists warn of ‘slime’ season – AP/ABC7 Sarasota (4/25/2012)

It’s “Summer Slime Season” in Florida – Public News Service (4/25/2012)

Health advisory issued for Lee waters – Ft. Myers News-Press (4/11/2012)

Court ruling positive step toward reducing pollution in Florida waters – TCPalm (3/1/2012)

The mauling of Florida’s environment – Tampa Bay Times (2/29/2012)

Hearing begins on challenge to proposed state water quality rules – Florida Current (2/27/2012)

Environmentalists applaud clean-water ruling against EPA, take on state next – Naples News (2/26/2012)

Message is clear: Clean up Florida waters – Tampa Bay Times (2/24/2012)

New limits on water pollutants on the way for Florida – NBC2 – Ft. Myers (2/19/2012)

Judge orders Florida water pollution limits – News-Press (2/19/2012)

Toxic fish can sicken seafood eaters – Sarasota Herald Tribune (2/9/2012)

Environmentalists call Florida congressman’s bill ‘a gift to polluter-lobbyists’- Florida Independent (2/1/2012)

Indian River Lagoon algae ‘super bloom’ studied – Florida (1/30/2012)

Algae bloom washing up along Caloosahatchee – ABC7-TV Ft. Myers (1/26/2012)

Wildlife Officials Rescue Manatee With Red Tide – NBC6-TV  Miami (1/25/2012)



Red Tide now blamed for some manatee deaths – WINK-TV (12/31/2012)

For clean water in Florida, depend on judge, not state – Palm Beach Post (12/6/2011)

New Lawsuit Attacks State Failure To Curtail Pollution – Florida Sportsman (12/2/2011)

Slime Tour highlights Florida’s polluted waterways – ABC News Tampa (12/1/2011)

Florida’s Water Standards Challenged By Environmentalists -  Florida Times-Union (12/2/2011)

Red Tide Cause of Estero Bay Fish kill, Scientists Say – Naples Daily News (11/28/2011)

Marine biologists from the Sanibel Sea School as well as scientists from FGCU are saying red tide is back in full force. – ABC-7  (11/28/11)

EPA tells Florida: Enforce rules on fertilizer in canals – Palm Beach Post (11/19/2011)

St. Johns River put at risk by unwise decision – Florida Times-Union (11/9/2011)

EPA backs off tough clean-water rules in hopes of helping Obama carry Florida in 2012 – Palm Beach Post (11/7/2011)

Florida’s big water polluters win again - St. Petersburg Times – (11/4/2011)

Upper bay’s health iffy – Tampa Tribune (10/25/2011)

Red tide bloom threatens Sarasota beaches with fish kill – Herald Tribune (10/12/2011)

Red tide to blame for fish kill? – ABC-7  (10/11/2011)

Red tide bloom off coast of Lee County – WINK News (10/4/2011)

Tampa Bay algae bloom threatens the estuary’s fish – St. Petersburg Times  (8/27/2011)

Indian River Lagoon seagrass in drastic decline – Florida Today (09/25/2011)

Protect Florida’s waters, not polluters – St. Petersburg Times (9/14/2011)

Cliff Stearns holds a hearing for polluters – Florida Times-Union (8/16/2011)

Victory for clean water – St. Petersburg Times (8/6/2011)

Foes of EPA water rules for Fla. lose appeal – AP National (8/4/2011)

Guest column: Don’t dilute the Clean Water Act- Florida Times-Union (8/4/2011)

Water Pollution: Appeals court rejects challenge to clean water standards – St. Petersburg Times (8/3/2011)

State Water Rules Discussed – The News Service of Florida (8/3/2011)

Appeals court upholds pollution rules - Miami Herald (8/3/2011)

Proposal in U.S. Senate would weaken efforts in Florida, nationwide to clean up waterways - TCPalm (8/1/2011)

Algae Blooms Plaguing Gulf Coast – WUSF  (7/29/2011)

New federal regulations aren’t the enemy; the state’s intransigence is – Orlando Sentinel (7/26/2011)

Ponte Vedra site of major fish kill – The Recorder (7/25/2011)

Mississippi plume could threaten life in Gulf – Herald Tribune (7/25/2011)

House bill restricting EPA water rules wrong – Bradenton Herald (7/22/2011)

Florida Water Quality: Drowning in Pollution – Lakeland Ledger (7/22/2011)

Clean water doesn’t kill jobs – St. Petersburg Times (7/17/2011)

Florida needs EPA’s new standards – Ocala Star-Banner (7/17/2011)

State agency cites industry numbers when questioned by lawmakers about water rule costs – Florida Independent (4/5/2011)

Press Conference Materials

Read the Petition

The Truth about DEP’s Faux Numeric Nutrient Standards (pdf)

Florida Slime Crime Tracker (Google Map)


Take Action

View our latest TV ad

Florida Water Coalition billboard in Columbia County


On FaceBook?

Get the latest here:


Multi Media Bar

Green slime fouls the water at a marina on Doctor’s Lake – a tributary of the St Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla

Green slime fouls the water at a marina on Doctor’s Lake – a tributary of the St...

Green slime outbreak on Pirate’s Cove, a tributary of the St Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla.

Green slime outbreak on Pirate’s Cove, a tributary of the St Johns River in...

The St Johns River, Nov. 12, 2013

The St Johns River, Nov. 12, 2013 Photo by Ed Washington

The St Johns River, Nov. 12, 2013

The St Johns River, Nov. 12, 2013 Photo by Iola Washington

Green slime covers the St Johns River

Green slime covers the St Johns River, Aug. 30, 2013. Photo By Carol Bailey

St. Lucie River near Stuart, Florida, August 1, 2013

Green slime from a toxic algae outbreak covers the St. Lucie River near Stuart, Florida,...

Beach covered with hundreds of dead fish!

Sarasota County work crews remove the hundreds dead fish littering the public Blind Pass...

Algae in Tampa Bay

Algae in Tampa Bay north of Courtney Campbell Causeway, Jan. 15, 2013 Photo by Bob Baker

Download the new Florida Water Coalition brochure

FLA Water...

Christopher Point Canal

Christopher Point Canal.  Photo taken on July 31, 2009.