Reef Relief Urges Keys-Wide Wastewater Reuse Plan / Adamant That Laws Be Obeyed During Planning, Permitting, and Construction


Reef Relief continues our work of using the best available science to educate the public and policymakers to achieve conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reef ecosystems.

The most critical issue facing all of us today is water quality. We fight to combat pollution in our oceans and negative effects of climate change, but without clean water, all of our work with regard to restoration and conservation are only delaying the loss of our coral reef ecosystems.

This is why Reef Relief, along with many other local, state, federal and private entities, have worked so hard toward creating a Keys-wide sewer system. We should all be proud of the work we have accomplished in this matter. Reef Relief would like to thank everyone involved in the implementation of the Keys-wide sewer system. It is imperative that our inefficient septic tanks are no longer allowed to leach human waste into our near shore waters. We would also like to thank all homeowners for cooperating with this process, as we are well aware of the financial burden. Continue reading



Last stand logo cropped

Last Stand announced on Wednesday that it is strongly opposed to disposal of treated sewage into shallow wells at the as yet unfinished Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In letters to DEP, FKAA and each Monroe County Commissioner, the Keyswide environmental group cited state regulations, insufficient treatment and danger to sealife as reasons why the plant should be required to pump its waste 2,500-3,000 feet below the surface into the Boulder Zone.

“DEP requires sewage plants that have the potential to treat one million gallons a day to use deep well disposal,” said Naja Girard, president of Last Stand, a watch-dog group which has operated in the Keys for over 25 years.  “Deep wells receive the partially treated waste water and retain it below solid barriers, while shallow wells allow the fresh water to rise to the surface and move into the nearshore waters,” she added. Continue reading

Unregulated Chemicals In Drinking Water

tap water

Photo: canstockphoto

Although pharmaceutical residues are polluting our tap water, utilities and regulators defend the safety of South Florida’s drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to identify and measure these contaminates in water treatment plants across the nation.

There are tens of thousands of chemicals in use in the United States. The EPA acknowledges that it does not know what harm these pollutants pose to human life. Irregardless,  these chemical threats are making their way into our drinking water.

More than 100 pollutants from farm herbicides, factory solvents and human waste have shown up in Florida’s tap water during the last five years. Twenty-five percent of these contaminants exceeded federal standards at least once, as documented by an environmental group. Continue reading

‘Dishonorable Discharge’

It’s Tuesday morning in Key West harbor.  Pascal Davis raises a small orange flag on the stern of her boat.  This will signal to the pumpout boat operator that the sewage holding tank on the “Mothership” needs to be vacuumed; all part of a new County program designed to provide a pumpout service to liveaboard boaters.  The County, you see, is so concerned with water quality that it has signed off on a      $ 1 Million/year contract providing free vessel pumpouts.

The paradox is that less than eight miles away thousands of people, in floating cities, can party, bathe, dine, drink, and relieve themselves over an open sewer, dumping millions of gallons of sewage and chemicals directly into the ocean.    According to Doctor Jerry Weinstock, a resident of Key Haven who is working on a new book addressing cruise ship pollution, those tides of wastewater carried by ocean currents could very well be flooding our shores, asphyxiating the reef and posing a serious health hazard.

Welcome to this voyage into the underbelly, the digestive system of the cruise ship industry, a mostly unregulated $ 33 Billion/year industry that basically pays no U.S. taxes and yes, has quite an offensive and inconsiderate tailpipe. Continue reading