The Point, May 18, 2020: Special Report: What Leaky Septic Tanks Are Doing To Florida’s Environment


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Today’s top Florida stories

• A WUFT News special report: Florida’s climate preparedness has focused largely on the built and natural environment. Our semester-long investigation of climate change and public health found that human hazards — from heat-related hospitalizations to disease-carrying insects — are on the rise in Florida. Children, elders, low-income Floridians and other vulnerable populations are particularly susceptible to these risks, now amplified by coronavirus as basic programs are suspended to contend with the emergency. But potentially record heat, stronger hurricanes and other human health threats didn’t get the message to quarantine.

Our four-part series continues today with a look at septic tanks, millions of which are buried beneath Florida’s sandy soils. Long known to pollute the state’s waters, leaky tanks can also pose problems for human health. Whether they can spread COVID-19 is uncertain.

• WMFE: Florida Moves into the “Full Phase One” of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Recovery Plan Starting Monday. “DeSantis says restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to operate at 50 percent of their indoor occupancy and gyms and other recreational facilities will be open starting Monday.”

• WLRN: UF Researcher Says Florida’s Contact Tracing Policy is Unclear. “A University of Florida research scientist, specializing in disease modeling, has some questions about the state’s contact tracing process.”

• FL Keys News: Florida Keys to reopen to visitors June 1, county leaders say. Hotels will reopen and checkpoints will end. “This is contingent on the state of the novel coronavirus in the Keys, county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood said in a news release sent out at about 7:30 p.m. As of Sunday, the Keys had 100 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, three deaths and 12 hospitalizations.”

• Florida Times-Union: Seven deaths reported at Clay County nursing home. “… Governors Creek Health and Rehabilitation has added two more deaths since the May 8 report, when it listed five. Its total death toll of seven is the most in the Jacksonville metropolitan area.”

• Tampa Bay Times: State seeks renewed death sentences as Florida high court backtracks on unanimous juries. “This all happened because of a case called Hurst. It was a Florida case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2016 struck down the state’s death penalty law. The Hurst decision was later interpreted as requiring that juries be unanimous if they are to recommend the death penalty. Previously in Florida, a bare majority of 7-5 was all it took.”

• Bay News 9: Disney World, Union Reach Deal on Safety Protections for Return to Work. “The safeguards include mandatory masks for both employees and visitors, mandatory temperature checks, and social distancing practices, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council Union, which represents more than 40,000 employees at Disney World.”

• Gainesville Sun: Some push for pause on school land purchase. “Since the Alachua County school board narrowly agreed last week to pursue buying a property in Jonesville for more than $3 million, some members of the public are hoping to pause the deal.”

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From NPR News

• Health: 102-Year-Old New York Woman Recovers From Coronavirus

• Health: New Evidence Suggests COVID-19 Patients On Ventilators Usually Survive

• Business: J.C. Penney Files For Bankruptcy As Lockdowns Take Their Toll

• Business: Bike Sales Gear Up As The Homebound Try Socially Distant Exercise

• Politics: President Trump Pushes To Open Paused Sports Leagues

• National: Hundreds Of Prisoners Have Died In U.S. From Coronavirus

• National: Policing During The Coronavirus Crisis

• Books: Hillary Without Bill? ‘Rodham’ Imagines What Could Have Been

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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