Contaminated water originating from the cooling canal system at Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) Turkey Point facility is reaching Biscayne Bay, threatening South Florida’s drinking water supply and Biscayne National Park. The findings and analysis by the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) were released by Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office late yesterday in an official memo to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. At an 8 March Board meeting, another recent report ordered by the Commission and prepared by the University of Miami (UM) regarding these discharges was discussed as an official agenda topic. Discussion of enforcement options occurred, including possible issuance of a Notice of Violation (NOV) to FPL.
Clean Energy says that the water-intensive Turkey Point site includes two nuclear reactors and is located in Miami-Dade County near Homestead, about twenty-five miles south of downtown Miami. The facility is one of Florida’s biggest daily water users and discharges at least 600,000 pounds of salt and other contaminants directly into the Biscayne Aquifer on a daily basis. The Biscayne Aquifer is a “sole source,” federally designated aquifer that serves more than three million people.
A host of public speakers representing diverse community interests including the national parks, local environmental organizations, and businesses demanded that the Commission act immediately to force FPL to stop this contamination and to research and implement options to actually fix these serious problems. When the Board took up the agenda item, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa commented at length along with fellow Commissioners sharing their concerns and desire for solutions during a lengthy dialogue with Mayor Gimenez and DERM Assistant Director Lee Hefty.
At the meeting, representatives from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) highlighted the severity of this contamination and offered recommendations. These solutions included pursuing affordable clean energy options that are far less water-intensive, such as solar, instead of FPL’s pursuit of two additional nuclear reactors at the beleaguered plant.
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