Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Drinking Water's Secret. By Geniusofdespair

I once had to man an environmental booth on River Day as the two people who were scheduled disappeared from the booth. The idea at Miami River Day is to have kids go from booth to booth and answer questions to earn a star. If they got all the stars from all the booths they earned a medal. The two women left the booth with the sheet of stars sitting there for the kids to just take. I was horrified as I really think River Day is a chance to educate kids and their parents. I commandeered the booth. I had the stars, all I needed was a question for the kids.

I thought up a question: Where does your drinking water come from? Parents and kids did not know the answer. The ocean/bay was their favorite choice. I also asked the kids how rain water gets underground. I pointed to the grass and the sidewalk as a choice. Most chose the pavement. Another lesson. So I did my good deed for that day about 3 years ago. I educated them about the aquifer.

Here is a little more of an advanced lesson on the aquifer for you guys -- our very smart readers -- who already know where the water is and that its supply is limited. I hope you will share the author's message.

Letter to the Editor Miami Herald: Nuclear expansion threatens our waters:

Jerry Paul appears to be a prolific supporter of nuclear power. In his Feb. 23 letter he touts the supposed benefits of nuclear energy. Yet, in none of his several media statements supporting nuclear do I see a single reference to the most important resource we have in Miami: Our water.

Florida Power & Light wants to expand its nuclear facilities in south Miami-Dade, and they’re asking for an additional 90 million gallons of water a day to absorb the new waste heat generated. By comparison, Miami-Dade County is allowed 365 million gallons a day from the Biscayne aquifer, our main source of drinking water. And in its nuclear federal licensing application, FPL projects a whopping increase of 3,224 percent for water demand for its power generation compared to a 35 percent increase in public and commercial needs.

Miami-Dade County just permitted FPL to build new wells below Biscayne Bay to take water from the Biscayne aquifer, but without really understanding how this would affect the aquifer. Add this to the newest projections of sea level rise and climate change and we may be facing disaster for our water supply, not to mention the economic, recreational, and other benefits of a healthy Biscayne Bay. When there’s not enough freshwater flowing out to sea because of groundwater pumping or water diversion or the sea level rises, salt water starts creeping inland. This saltwater intrusion can contaminate our drinking water. Saltwater is unfit for human consumption, and can be extremely harmful to a coastal ecosystem. Once a well is intruded with salt-water, it often has to be abandoned for human safety concerns.

Already, there is evidence that the saltwater front is moving inland, which may be in part from existing FPL activities at Turkey Point.

Some external modeling shows that the saltwater front is further inland than it would be without FPL’s existing cooling canals. And now FPL wants to add insult to injury by pumping more water out of the aquifer. FPL still needs permit approval from both the state of Florida and the federal government before any new nuclear plants can be constructed. We should let them know how much we like having water to drink here in Miami-Dade.

Of course, Paul calls Port Charlotte home. Perhaps if he lived in Miami-Dade, he might be more thoughtful about endorsing such a menacing threat to our water. The touted, and likely over-inflated, economic benefits of building two new nuclear reactors on top of the very nationally important wetlands and Bay that we are trying to restore for their ecological and economic values is in the long-run a bad deal.

- Sara Fain, senior staff attorney, Everglades Law Center, Coral Gables


Anonymous said...

Miami Dade water users pay less for drinking water than other state residents, yet don't seem to understand the threats caused by pollution, salt water intrusion, and the nuclear plants. This most valuable resource seems to be a political gift to FPL, rock miners, sugar barons, and sprawl developers.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how one COMMERCIAL profit-taking entity can take an equivalent of almost a fourth of the amount of the water our community of multiple millions of people needs.

We each at the community level save water through forced restrictions, yet a mega-user can come in and suggest that they will use X amount. We should be guessing that in all likely-hood it will be more water used and the community will face higher water costs and rationing. (Change orders are common in all aspects of government approvals; why wouldn't we find them here?)

In addition, I wonder how FPL can take payment from customers, build dirt roads in wetlands, Mega poles and other accoutrements of a nuke site, when the permits have not been approved? Why is homestead feverishly building hotels and plotting for more housing just miles from the nuke site? Yet no permit for FPL.

You and I could not build a building without permits or build the road to the site through wetlands using the "proposed unpermitted" building as the reason.

Boy, are we a dumb group of bunnies. People, WAKE UP.

Keysgate Resident.