Oct 092015


Dear Editor,

It’s really a blessing in disguise that Cudjoe Regional hasn’t started operation yet. One very senior DEP official has called this sewer system “kind of a big experiment.” And it’s already showing problems before it’s even operating.

I hear reports from the field people that some of the gravity sewers are so leaky that they can’t keep them emptied. And normally a service tech would turn on lift station pumps and know immediately that they were working because the water level would start dropping quickly. But in Cudjoe, the pumps are so pitifully slow that it is not so easy to see.

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to realize that using 3 of the slowest available residential grinder pumps to do the industrial duty pumping of wastewater from about 80 homes on a single lift station might not be a very bright plan. Especially if those sluggish pumps might spark a sewer explosion because they were never designed, tested, or approved for that application.

The delay in connections is an unrecognized blessing. Right now, while nobody is connected and system repairs are still the contractor’s responsibility is the time to identify and correct any and all sources of inflow and infiltration. The manholes should be almost dry- after all, this is a brand new system with nobody connected. The fact that they can’t be kept emptied is cause for real concern and much needed action. It’s time to start flipping manhole lids off to localize the problems.

Now that FKAA has a pump-out truck, it could be used to haul in water to fill the lift stations in Cudjoe with the power turned off to simulate a storm-caused power outage. Then switch on all the power and see how long to get the full quantity to the treatment plant. Put some pressure gauges on the force main flush-outs to see what pressure is developing. Remember that it will be way worse when several hundred individual grinder pumps of the exact same make and model are competing with those few in each lift station.

This is a golden opportunity to identify and remedy problems before raw sewage complicates issues.

Another issue is the pump telemetry system. There are only 31 in Duck Key and they are reportedly still not all functioning properly after about two years. In Cudjoe Regional, FKAA ordered thousands more without certainty they will ever work. Just like the whole collection system, “it’s kind of a big experiment.” Fix this system now while the design engineers and contractors are still liable.

John Prosser,

Big Pine Key

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 October 9, 2015  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #135, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

  3 Responses to “A Golden Opportunity”

  1. I remember sitting in the lower keys prop. owners bldg. on Bogy Ch. Rd. & Everyone in attendance heard K. Zuelch state-We will build any system the BOCC will authorize and FUND. And there lies the problem. The three Big Money, Big Development, G. Neugeant, D. Rice, & S. Murphy, commissioner have ordered the death of the lower keys by REFUSING to spend the infrastructure tax money in the manner the voters chose in the voting booth. I have a degree in civil eng., worked in the field since’69,& retired From the FKAA a while back. While its apparent that the FKAA is NOT Lilly white in this mess. People apparently choose NOT to put the BLAME where it belongs. The mantra of those for-mentioned commissioners always has been and always will be spend the absolute minimum for the lower keys. Now with all the savings recognized by their tactics G. Neugeant, with the help of his two buddies, was able to MISAPPROPRIATE $9 Million dollars of Monroe county infrastructure monies and give it to the St. of Florida for a State of Florida INFRASTRUCTURE. Yes the egress(bridge) to a City of Marathon Tourists Attraction is State of Florida Infrastructure NOT Monroe.So HOW does State of Florida property qualify as Monroe County Infrastructure???Also S. Murphy got $5million for Rowell Marina–now County infrastructure, however the Ballot stipulated AFTER a Complete & Fully funded Sewer System. It’s obvious that the three for mentioned commissioners are using Our infrastructure tax monies as their personal slush fund. REMEMBER, when the CRWS goes down the Shitter its G.Neugeant, D. Rice, & S. Murphy that are to BLAME. Now Monroe County OWNS, the CRWS and the FKAA is only their CONTRACTOR. So how??is a Contractor able to EXTORT an easement when they DON’T Own the system. The County Owns it but it appears the County is using the FKAA to escape the Liability issues. If the grinder pump is on YOUR property its YOUR liability. If it’s in the roadway it’s the OWNER of the Utilities Liability. The three for mention Comissioners are doing everything in their 3 TO 2 vote to discriminate against the Voters and Taxpayers in the lower keys. I’ve tried to find out if it’s even Legal for a third party,FKAA, to force an easement but haven had any luck so far. Any legal assistance with this matter will be appreciated.
    Do the taxpayers of Monroe County care if their taxes are too high, do they care if their government isn’t paying attention to the will of the Vote??

    Eugene E. Nanay, retired FKAA construction inspector.

  2. Well done! John Prosser has been a tremendous asset to the community in his investigations and analyses of the flawed planning of the Lower Keys sewer system by FKAA and the county. John’s observations have gone a long way towards keeping honest the powers that be. Without him and other like-minded individuals, the new sewage system would be an environmental disaster beyond the septic systems that it is designed to replace. Something about the cure being worse than the disease.

  3. Everything about the Cudjoe Regional is a disgrace and fraught with deceit and cronyism all the way to the Governor’s office, and on up through the federal environmental agencies who refuse to exercise their oversight authority. The community and the environment are the worse for it. Put in central sewers, even inadequate and defective ones, and development runs largely unabated.
    For example, we see Marathon, with its treatment plants alreday bypassing sewage to shallow wells, adding large projects that further exceed the treatment capacity. I saw where the City approved a new forcemain for the new Marriott at a cost of about a million dollars. If that hotel had been in the design, the forcemain would not be an add-on.
    Knights Key Campground is being replaced by a 199 unit resort and 30 worker residences. The plant capacity does not exist for the increased flow. Check Chapter 64E-6.008 of the Florida Administrative Code and compare the sewage generation of a campsite to a resort unit. I’ll save you the trouble- it’s 2.7 times the flow of an RV site for a resort room. “We will increase the capacity”, said the City. Easy to say, but not so easy to accomplish. How? Where? When? Who pays?
    Already, FKAA has over 30% more sewage heading to the Cudjoe plant (based on the sum of the collection system permits) than the plant was designed to handle, but they are trying to add more!
    FKAA would like to send the sewage from the horribly leaky Boca Chica Navy collection system to the Big Coppitt plant that reportedly overloads already, plus you can expect the Walmart development to be adding to the flow.
    “Just build anything and we will approve everything” is effectively what DEP says…. and their own rules be damned. Central sewers were never really about the environment. They are a toilet tax and an open door to development, sesame. Watch for it.

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