Hurricane Matthew Lessons Learned

District prepared for near-miss storm

Several days prior to the predicted landfall of Hurricane Matthew, the District began pre-storm preparations by inspecting its 1,000 miles of canal rights-of-way and lowering canal water elevations in coordination with the South Florida Water Management District. The District then authorized residential communities to open their neighborhood discharge control structures in order to lower lake levels and provide additional on-site stormwater storage.

Several calls were received regarding high water levels within lakes after the authorization and some residential communities reported damage to their discharge control structure mechanisms during operation. Communities are reminded that it is important the District  knows who is responsible for the operation of the community’s control structure to ensure they are receiving important weather alerts and emergency instructions.

For more information on the District ‘s storm preparedness operations or to update the community’s contact information, visit

This article was originally published in the LWDD November Newsletter.



Fall is upon us and the holiday season is just around the corner.   The North Collier Fire District is asking you to think safety as you plan your holiday gatherings with friends and family.

In the Kitchen
Did you know that most residential fires start in the kitchen?  Furthermore, Thanksgiving Day is the single most popular day for kitchen fires throughout the year followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  Homeowners are 200% more likely to have a kitchen fire on Thanksgiving Day compared to other days of the year.   Here are a few safety tips to remember at your holiday gathering:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove.
  • Keep floor clear of trip hazards such as toys, kids, shoes or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time.
  • Be sure electric cords from cooking equipment are not dangling off the counter or in reach of children.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, and never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle.
  • Be sure your home has working smoke detectors.
  • If you home uses natural gas or propane appliances, be sure to have working carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If a fire occurs in a pan on the stove, cover the pan with a lid if possible.
  • If a fire occurs inside the oven, do not open the oven but turn off the power on the stove or at the main breaker panel.

Dangers of Deep Frying a Turkey
Turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and units currently available for home use can pose a significant danger of releasing hot oil at some point during the cooking process. If you plan to fry your turkey, consider these dangers:

  • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in.
  • A partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the fryer.
  • Without temperature controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot cooking oil over a larger area.
  • The sides of the cooking fryer, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.

Candle Safety
Don’t forget about your holiday decorations, including candles, which can cause fires in your home resulting in property damage, injuries or even death. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that candles start 38% of home decoration structure fires, and that the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.  Review these candle safety tips to keep your family safe:

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Think about using flame-less candles in your home.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage.

Christmas Tree Safety
As many families purchase their Christmas tree around Thanksgiving, we remind you of these safety tips:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2″ from the base of the trunk.
  • Place tree at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Add water to the tree stand daily.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

We invite you to contact the District at (239) 597-3222 to learn more about fire safety during the holidays.

Norman Feder
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District

FASD and Wertz York announce a new program to benefit special districts and FASD!

Members who utilize this program will be benefiting FASD at the same time. Wertz York has developed this investment program where they will match a small percentage of a district’s investment and give that to FASD to enhance their education programs. With the creation of a true foundation, this money will be deposited in the foundation and used to provide scholarships for the CDM program, enhance the CDO program and provide funding for the Annual Conference and our member meetings. This is truly a win-win for FASD and our members. Please review this PowerPoint presentation for more information.

2016 FASD Annual Conference

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2015 FASD Legislative Forum

Emergency Rulemaking Regarding Public: Notification of Pollution Incidents

In the wake of two pollution incidents, a raw sewage spill into Tampa Bay in Pinellas County and the sinkhole at Mosaic Fertilizer’s New Wales facility in Polk County, Florida, Governor Rick Scott released a statement on Monday, September 26, 2016, directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue an emergency rule amending requirements for public notification of pollution incidents. Later that day, the DEP released a Specific Finding of Immediate Danger to the Public Health, Safety or Welfare, which is a requisite step to promulgating an emergency rule under Chapter 120 of the Florida Statutes, and the DEP posted notice of the proposed emergency rule, which contains the full text of the rule. Under Chapter 120.54, Florida Statutes, an emergency rule may be effective for a maximum of 90 days, but the governor instructed DEP to concurrently conduct formal rulemaking to make the changes permanent, and stated that he intends to propose legislation during the next legislative session to amend the current notification law, which requires public notification only if pollution moves off-site in most circumstances.

As proposed, the emergency rule requires “any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation” to provide notice to the public and various public officials within 24 hours of “the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution.” The emergency rule requires the owner or operator to provide written notice to the DEP, “the mayor, the chair of the county commission, or the comparable senior elected official representing the affected area,” the “city manager, the county administrator, or the comparable senior official representing the affected area,” and “the general public by providing notice to local broadcast television affiliates and a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the contamination.” In addition, within 48 hours of a pollution incident or the discovery of pollution, an owner or operator must notify, in writing, the same above parties “of any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, and the potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.” If the pollution has “affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation,” the owner or operator of the facility must notify, in writing, the same people and entities listed above and the property owner of “any affected area.” Finally, failure to follow this rule’s requirements will subject the violator to penalties under § 403.161, Florida Statutes, which authorizes penalties in the form of damages to the state, misdemeanor or felony criminal charges, and fines up to $50,000 for each offense.

The emergency rule does not provide definitions for any of the terms it uses including “pollution” or “installation.” These terms can have broad interpretation, which could make the rule’s reach very problematic.  Section 403.031(7), Florida Statues defines “pollution” as “the presence in the outdoor atmosphere or waters of the state of any one or more substances or pollutants in quantities which are or may be potentially harmful or injurious to human health or welfare, animal or plant life, or property or which may unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, including outdoor recreation,” which is broad. This definition encompasses both a wide array of substances and small quantities of those substances that could potentially trigger the reporting requirements. The rule does not address retroactive application, either, to situations where pollution was previously discovered and notification may have been made to DEP.

It is important that affected clients and industries be involved in this rulemaking. We want to hear your concerns and how this rule could potentially affect your business or industry. We will continue to monitor this rulemaking as it develops. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions, concerns, or for further information.

Governor Scott’s full statement can be read here:

The full text of the DEP’s Specific Finding of Immediate Danger to the Public Health, Safety or Welfare can be read here:

The full text of the proposed emergency rule can be read here:

The DEP has created a site to facilitate providing notice to the appropriate parties under this rule, it can be viewed here:

Rule No.: 62-4.161 can be read here:

Contact Information:
West Palm Beach Office
Robert P. Diffenderfer Email:
Phone: (561) 640-0820

Tallahassee Office
Lori E. H. Killinger

Phone: (850) 222-5702

Jacksonville Office
Wayne E. Flowers
Phone: (904) 353-6410

Tampa Bay Office
Kevin S. Hennessy
Phone: (941) 708-4040

Copyright © 2016 Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.

Click here to view the original release.

FASD Partners with Wertz York Capital Management Group

Recently, at our June 9, 2016 Board of Director’s meeting, the FASD Board of Directors approved a revenue sharing agreement with Wertz York Capital Management Group (WYCMG).  WYCMG is the investment manager of the Florida Fixed Income Trust which is a local government investment pool.  The pool offers several options for your agency to invest surplus funds as well as options for your operational funds.  Every agency who utilizes the fund will be supporting FASD as WYCMG will share revenue back to FASD for funding necessary to the improvement and expansion of our educational efforts.  These funds will be used to acquire top speakers for the FASD Annual Conference, initiate and help sustain online training modules for the Certified District Official Program, provide training that will deliver CEU’s for the Certified District Manager Program and help defray the existing costs of FASD’s educational efforts.

This is an opportunity to potentially increase your interest revenue throughout the year and support the Association.

Please call Kenny Blocker at 352.201.2865 or email at to set up a meeting to see how WYCMG can review your current situation and potentially offer you solutions to earn additional interest income.


2016 District of the Year – North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District

North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District was recognized as the 2016 District of the Year by the Florida Association of Special Districts at their June annual conference.

To learn about the award and other District recognition at the FASD conference, click  here or the link below to view our Special Edition of the All Hazards Quarterly newsletter.


2016 FASD Legislative Forum

Everglades Water Quality Improvement Program Marks 20 Years of Success

Everglades Agricultural Area consistently achieves phosphorus reduction goals

West Palm Beach, FL — For a milestone 20th year, water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) achieved phosphorus reductions that significantly exceed those required by law.

Implementation of improved farming techniques, known as Best Management Practices (BMPs), produced a 79-percent phosphorus reduction in the 470,000-acre EAA farming region south of Lake Okeechobee for the Water Year 2015 monitoring period (May 1, 2014 – April 30, 2015). The requirement is a 25-percent phosphorus reduction.

Over the program’s 20-year compliance history, the overall average annual reduction from the implementation of BMPs is 56 percent, more than twice the required amount.

“Two decades of successfully meeting and exceeding phosphorus reductions to improve Everglades water quality is a great accomplishment,” said Daniel O’Keefe, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board. “South Florida’s agricultural communities are clearly demonstrating a long-term commitment to restoration efforts.

Examples of BMPs include refined stormwater management practices, on-farm erosion controls and more precise fertilizer application methods. These and other management practices by agricultural growers reduce the amount of phosphorus transported in stormwater runoff that reaches the Everglades and its connected water bodies.

BMP Program Delivering Successful Results
To meet the requirements of Florida’s Everglades Forever Act, the amount of phosphorus leaving the EAA must be 25 percent less than before reduction efforts started. A science-based model is used to compute the reductions and make adjustments that account for variable rainfall.

When measured in actual mass, 147 metric tons of phosphorus were prevented from leaving the EAA and entering the regional canal system, which sends water into the

Everglades, during the Water Year 2015 monitoring period. Over the past 20 years, the BMP program has prevented 3,001 metric tons of phosphorus from leaving the EAA.

Just west of the EAA, in the 170,000-acre C-139 Basin, a BMP program has been in place for the past 11 years. In November 2010, the program requirements were enhanced to better control the nutrient runoff. For the Water Year 2015 monitoring period, data show the actual mass of phosphorus discharged from the basin during that time was 27 metric tons. Ongoing work continues to focus on improving phosphorus reductions in this basin, which historically has reported elevated nutrient levels in its soils and runoff.

Stormwater Treatment Areas Provide Additional Improvements
Water leaving the EAA and C-139 Basin receives additional treatment in one of several Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) before entering the Everglades. These constructed wetlands are filled with native vegetation that serve as “green technology” to further reduce phosphorus levels.

Since 1994, the network of five STAs south of Lake Okeechobee — currently with 57,000 acres of effective treatment area — have treated more than 16 million acre-feet of water and retained approximately 2,012 metric tons of phosphorus that would have otherwise entered the Everglades. Last year, the STAs treated approximately 1.4 million acre-feet of water, retaining 83 percent of phosphorus from water flowing through the treatment cells.

Through the end of April 2015, more than 4,860 metric tons of phosphorus have been prevented from entering the Everglades through treatment wetlands and the BMP program combined. Overall, Florida has invested more than $1.8 billion to improve Everglades water quality since 1994. Additional improvements in Everglades water quality are being achieved by Governor Scott’s Restoration Strategies initiative, which includes more than 6,500 acres of STA expansions and construction of 116,000 acre-feet of additional water storage.

For more information:
BMPs and Source Controls
Improving Water Quality
Restoration Strategies for Clean Water for the Everglades

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About the South Florida Water Management District
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional, governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state – 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys. It is the oldest and largest of the state’s five water management districts. The agency mission is to manage and protect water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply. A key initiative is cleanup and restoration of the Everglades.