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'This is about making sure we get poo out of the water': Senator calls for tougher penalties for sewage spills

Sen. Joe Gruters just filed a bill to increase fines for sewage spills by 50 percent.
Credit: WTSP
900,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Sarasota Bay back in December 2018 after a pipe burst in a heavy rainstorm.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Over the years, we've seen sewage spills all over the Tampa Bay area. 

A Sarasota lawmaker wants to see the state get tougher on cities and towns that are polluting our waterways. Right now, any person, company or government is fined $10,000 for each offense.

Republican Senator Joe Gruters of Sarasota just filed a bill to increase the fines by 50 percent —to $15,000. And, each day it goes on and it not fixed is considered a separate offense. He wants people to be notified if there's a spill in their area within 24 hours. 

This bill is an effort to support what Governor Ron DeSantis proposed last September. 

“This is about making sure we get poo out of the water. It’s disgusting to think about what our local governments are responsible for putting over a billion gallons of raw sewage directly into our waterways,” Sen. Gruters said.

State Representative Randy Fine said local governments have illegally dumped three billion gallons of sewage into Florida's waterways over the past 10 years. He filed a version of the bill in the State House.

If this idea sounds familiar, Sen. Gruters also filed a similar bill last legislative session. The session starts in Tallahassee on Tuesday.

RELATED: Tampa Bay has serious sewage problems. St. Pete hopes robots will help fix them

RELATED: Sarasota senator's bill fines local governments for each gallon of spilled raw sewage

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