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Our Florida quality of life, property values, economy, recreation, and tourism are all dependent on abundant and clean water. There’s a lot at stake for everyone – that’s why the Play Hard Florida team proposes:

  1. Changing the official nickname of Florida to the Water State (be sure to read this and all our adventure & environmental articles)
  2. Legalizing recreational marijuana for the purpose of creating a tax base for funding water quality projects – an idea that we call Green for Blue™ (our March article)
  3. Using the recreational marijuana tax to fund sewage and septic improvements statewide

Wastewater and septic systems? Why not use the revenue for something more sexy? Florida is facing pressures on multiple fronts: rising seas + stronger tropical weather systems + thousands of aging wastewater collection systems + thousands of outdated wastewater treatment plants + 2.5 million ineffective septic systems + record tourism + 900 new residents per day. All of that equals a perfect storm of flooded septic systems, sewer overflows, nutrients in our waters, beach closures, algae blooms, red tides, reduced property values, coral reef die offs, fishing industry impacts, loss in tourism, and millions and millions of dollars to fix. That’s where Green For Blue™ revenue comes in.

How to distribute the Green For Blue™ revenue:

  • Cost share for equipment such as lift station generators, lift station monitoring systems, vacuum trucks, and backup portable pumps = this will help reduce sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) in the event of a hurricane or heavy rainfall event
  • Cost share for replacement of undersized & old collection pipes, lift stations, and pumps = this too will help reduce SSOs that get into our waters and will reduce stormwater infiltration into aged pipes
  • Cost share for community wastewater treatment plant upgrades = this will help increase capacity of undersized plants and improve nutrient/contaminant removal in outdated systems
  • Cost share for water reclamation use expansion and research = this will allow more treated waters (reclaimed) to be used in the landscape instead of released to a surface water
  • Cost share for improved biosolids treatment and research = this will allow for more effective treatment of biosolids so they don’t become a pollutant where they are spread
  • Cost share for septic tank conversions to sanitary sewer = this will prevent nutrients, bacteria, and pollutants from getting into surface and ground waters
  • Grants for homeowners to repair or upgrade their septics to an aerobic system or to tie into sanitary sewer = the majority of septic systems (even if not leaking) are not effective at removing nutrients – septic upgrades or removal will help reduce impacts to surface and ground waters
  • Funding public outreach for local governments/utilities as well for businesses and homeowners = local government officials need to know the impacts of SSOs and ineffective septics to their community and can benefit from outreach – so can their constituents
  • Funding research on sustainable irrigation, fertilization, and pest management practices for the marijuana industry = the hemp/marijuana growers should not be a source of excessive groundwater use or fertilizer applications that could negatively impact our natural resources

Still don’t think we need a new revenue source for our waste? Read about the crisis in this Gatehouse Media story.

This new tax base will not provide enough money to fix every antiquated treatment plant and upgrade every septic in the state – but it will kickstart the decades-overdue process. Our March article provides links to all the revenue earning potential. Legalizing recreational marijuana will also increase tourism (growing other tax bases), contribute to an expanding agricultural hemp market, eliminate marijuana prison & judicial expenses in communities, and by legalizing “green” it will help us stay “blue”!

Support our partnered nonprofits and the cause by purchasing our Green For Blue™ t-shirts, leggings, hats, and bags!
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