MONROE COUNTY COMMISSIONER SYLVIA MURPHY TELLS SENATE COMMITTEES
FPL NEEDS TO CLEAN UP HYPERSALINE PLUMES CAUSED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
HOMESTEAD – The state’s Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee and the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee held a joint workshop April 29 in Homestead to learn more about hypersaline water – created by Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant – that has moved outside the utility’s cooling canal system and is threatening Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne aquifer.
For nearly three hours, before a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 people, representatives of FPL, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Miami-Dade County’s Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and the Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission testified before the Senate committees. Mike Sole, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for FPL, said he estimated it would take about $50 million to deal with the existing problem.
Monroe County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy attended the meeting with Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi, Monroe County Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson and Monroe County Sustainability Director Rhonda Haag. During the public comment phase, Commissioner Murphy was cheered when she told the committee members: “If the Florida Keys, with its population of 75,000 people can spend $834 million dollars, with some state help, on the environmental protection of a central sewer system than surely FP&L can straighten out their own environmental issues.”
Murphy also said: “We’re the first island in Monroe County to notice any degradation to Biscayne Bay, to the reef and to our much loved backcountry, Florida Bay. And any threat to our wellfields in Miami-Dade County is a major cause of concern to us. It’s all we have [for our fresh water supply]. We can’t go anywhere else. … Our water supply is in jeopardy every time there is a drought, every time a new housing development is built up here and every time a nuclear power plant needs billions of gallons to cool down in a canal system.”
The DEP gave the utility 60 days – which ends June 24 – to enter into an agreement with the state agency on corrective action that includes stopping the super salty water migration and cleaning up the hypersaline water that is outside its boundaries. If no mutual agreement is reached, DEP’s Deputy Secretary of Regulatory Affairs Paula Cobb said DEP has the authority and will “immediately” impose its own unilateral corrective action plan for FPL to implement. The entire workshop can be viewed at www.TheFloridaChannel.org. Once at the site, go to the video library to find the recording.
On April 20, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution that encouraged FKAA to take all necessary steps to protect the County’s potable water supply and the wellfields and expresses the County’s willingness to provide material support to the FKAA to enhance its current protective efforts.
The resolution also is part of an eight-point action plan to address the hypersaline plume, which the Commission agrees does not pose an immediate threat to the Keys’ water supply but needs to be dealt with now to prevent future problems.