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Florida's Domestic Wastewater to Wetlands Rule
Chapter 62-611, F.A.C., provides State regulations and standards for domestic wastewater discharges to wetlands. Wastewater wetland definitions, per Chapter 62-611, F.A.C., for some of the terms below are provided as a link. Clicking on that link will take you to the definition of that term.
On March 1, 1979, the Department formally recognized the potential of wetlands as a means of providing wastewater treatment and adopted an exemption for the experimental use of wetlands (now Rule 62-600.120(3), F.A.C.). In April 1986, as a result of the 1984 Warren S. Henderson Act, the Department adopted specific regulations and standards (17-6.055, F.A.C.) which codified the permitting of wetlands for treatment of domestic wastewater such that the type, nature, and function of wetlands would be protected. Three and one half years after the wastewater to wetlands regulations were promulgated (circa November 1989), a separate chapter of the Florida Administrative Code was dedicated to the wastewater to wetlands regulations (Chapter 17-611, F.A.C.). Currently, the Department regulates domestic wastewater discharge activities in wetlands through Chapter 62-611, F.A.C.
The wastewater to wetlands rule controls (1) the quality and quantity of wastewater which may be discharged to wetlands and (2) the quality of water discharged from wetlands to contiguous surface waters. It also provides water quality, vegetation, and wildlife standards which provide protection of other wetland functions and values, and establishes permitting procedures and extensive monitoring requirements for wastewater discharges to wetlands.
Chapter 62-611, F.A.C., classifies wetlands based on the level of treatment provided by the wastewater facility (secondary treatment with nitrification or advanced wastewater treatment), background hydrology of the wetland (hydrologically altered or hydrologically unaltered), wetland’s origin (man-made or natural), and the type of vegetation (herbaceous or woody). For a graphic representation of the array of wetland systems types, according to the classification system found in Chapter 62-611, FAC, which may be permitted by the Department (without a variance from the rules), see the Domestic Wastewater Wetlands Chart.
The rule promotes the use of man-made (constructed) and hydrologically altered wetlands by requiring less monitoring and allowing higher hydraulic and nutrient loading rates for those systems. These regulatory incentives attempt to create and restore wetlands. Many wetland systems are classified as reuse of reclaimed water per Rule 62-610.810(g), F.A.C., which states that wetlands creation, restoration, and enhancement projects....shall be classified as "reuse."
Environmental Resource Permitted (Wetlands Dredge and Fill)
What Chapter 62-611, F.A.C., does not regulate is the determination of and the dredging and filling within wetlands. This is done through the Wetland Environmental Resource Permit program (SLERP) and Chapter 62-340, F.A.C. For more information on wetland resource permitting it is best to contact the SLERP program of the appropriate DEP district office.
Wastewater to Wetland Resources
Last updated: July 26, 2012
2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)