Since algae appeared in Blue Cypress Lake last year, Indian River County commissioners have had moratoriums on spreading partially treated sewage on fields. The latest ban goes through June.
State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, wants to make the ban permanent. Tuesday morning she filed a bill that would prohibit the state Department of Environmental Protection from authorizing disposal of "domestic wastewater biosolids" in the upper St. Johns River, in Indian River and Brevard counties.
The bill also would create a "pollutant control program" in the upper St. Johns to keep pollutants out of the river and ensure certain water-quality benchmarks are met.
A TCPalm investigation published in June questioned whether biosolids spread as fertilizer at Pressley Ranch near Blue Cypress Lake were to blame for rising phosphorus levels, which can — and two weeks later did — cause a highly toxic blue-green algae bloom in the lake.
TCPalm reported that spreading of biosolids around the St. Johns watershed has spiked since 2013, when the Legislature banned the practice to the south, where Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers were protected.
The St. Johns deserves similar protection. Grall's bill deserves statewide support.