Be Informed, Then Vote
Indian River Lagoon needs attention beyond its shores
In an effort to keep readers informed with up-to-date information on the issues they may see on ballots affecting business owners and the vast majority of citizens of Brevard County, we will be taking a look at those issues as we approach the 2020 elections.
When citizens are fully educated on the issues facing their communities, those citizens become the strongest force inside our United States by showing up on election days. It’s a privilege to be able to help keep readers informed on the most pressing issues, and to be a part of the voice that advocates to election officials that serve the residents of Brevard. It is in that spirit that we begin coverage of a single issue in each bi-monthly EverythingBrevard magazine from now until the November 2020 elections.
Leading up to Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session, which took place earlier this year, all four Chambers of Commerce in Brevard came together to create a “Joint Legislative Agenda.” The first item on that list was, and likely will remain, Indian River Lagoon funding. It’s imperative that everyone understand how the health and vitality of our Indian River Lagoon (IRL) affects not only our physical health, but our economic health as a community.
For anyone who would like to know the most current plan to address issues in the IRL, there is a tremendous resource, IRLNEP 2030 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, available online. For those without time to review the documentation, what everyone needs to know about the IRL is that we have a plan and it is going to take some time before results are known.
One of the largest problems has been stormwater runoff — much has been done to address the issue, and that will continue. The next largest task to improving the water quality of the IRL, and one that comes with a massive price tag, is wastewater. As much as we all enjoy a good discussion on sewage, addressing it effectively is what great communities must do.
The stated goal in the aforementioned document says it best: “Improve municipal and industrial wastewater infrastructure throughout the IRL watershed to achieve AWT [Advanced Wastewater Treatment] standards to REDUCE or REMOVE loads of human and industrial pollutants to the IRL. REDUCE vulnerability to WWTP [Wastewater Treatment Plant] overflows to the IRL. Expand WWTP capacity to accommodate septic to sewer conversions and the region’s growing human population.”
In the simplest of terms, what we need is updated infrastructure for wastewater, updated and/or retrofitted septic tanks that do not leak nutrients into our ground and the lagoon, and updated wastewater treatment facilities. That kind of capacity increasing and updating of infrastructure will require additional funding, and that is what we, as citizens and voters of Brevard County, need to keep our attention on, and ensure our voices are heard through our votes.
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As president and CEO of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce, Michael Ayers is a strategic leader with experience managing government agencies, political campaigns and community-based organizations. He has spent over 17 years in government relations, management, and political marketing throughout Washington, D.C., Illinois, Tallahassee and Brevard County. Michael started his career as a congressional aide and spent several years running political campaigns.
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