Newly introduced legislation could cost companies that delay in reporting release of dangerous substances thousands of dollars.
Florida state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, introduced legislation Thursday that would require companies to notify the state Department of Environmental Protection about the “release of any dangerous substance” within 24 hours of making the discovery, according to newly filed Senate Bill 532.
DEP would in turn have 24 hours to issue a notice to the public about the release. The department would also be required to publish a list of substances that “pose a substantial risk to public health, safety or welfare.”
Companies that fail to notify DEP could face fines of up to $10,000 per day, the bill states.
However, providing a notice does not “constitute an admission of liability or harm,” according to a summary of the bill on the Florida Senate website.
“The people of Florida deserve to know if our state’s drinking water has been threatened by potentially dangerous pollutants,” Galvano said in a release. “Requiring the public to be notified quickly about potential contaminants will give them peace of mind that they won’t unwittingly be drinking water that isn’t safe. SB 532, is designed to protect Floridians from this not-so-clear but very present danger.”
If it passes, the bill would become effective July 1.
Senate Bill 532 expands on the work of House Bill 937, which Galvano sponsored in 2005 and was later signed into law. The bill requires notice when contamination is discovered as a result of site rehabilitation activities.