Message to the Future: Remember Cudjoe Regional Shallow Wells May Only Be Used for Back-up

by Naja Girard….

Dear Future Florida Keys Residents,

In 2015, a small group of caring community members made a big difference. They fought to protect the beautiful Florida Keys offshore environment.  They were able to convince Monroe County to install and use a deep injection well instead of the shallow wells already approved for the disposal of wastewater effluent at the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.  This was no easy task, it took strong voices, thick skin, hours upon hours of research, not to mention some of their hard-earned money.

Scientists were called upon to show that disposal of wastewater into shallow wells, given the porous geology of the Florida Keys, was a very poor solution to the problem of what to do with wastewater. Despite the science, the Department of Environmental Protection, Monroe County commissioners, and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, weren’t easily convinced. It took litigating. And it took the devotion of several Florida Keys attorneys who worked long and hard for little to no monetary compensation.  Those attorneys are Caron Balkany, Jan Edelstein, and Diana Davis.

This is a thank you to those dedicated attorneys, their clients, Don DeMaria and Mike Laudicina, Cudjoe Gardens and Sugarloaf Shores property owners associations and Jan Diamondstone, scientific experts Dr. Jim Fourqurean and Dr. Henry Briceno, the Nature Conservancy and Chris Bergh, environmental group Last Stand, and all of the other individual Florida Keys residents who got involved, for all they did to help protect our Florida Keys coastline.

In the process, we learned a few things about how our government works – at every level – and it wasn’t all that pretty. If you click here you’ll find quite a few articles about all that.

This is also a message to future Florida Keys’ residents aimed at ensuring that the agreements made and judicial orders issued will be adhered to in the future. This is important and necessary because in 2017 the Department of Environmental Protection announced their refusal to include the promises made through these agreements in the official operating permits issued by that agency for the Cudjoe Regional plant.

Remember this future Florida Keys residents:

The DEEP INJECTION WELL at the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant shall be the sole primary injection well at the Plant and will serve as the sole primary method of effluent disposal. The shallow wells at the Plant MAY ONLY BE USED AS BACK-UP WELLS.

Here are the official documents:

Withdrawal of Petition for Administrative Hearing

EXHIBIT A: September 2015 Settlement Agreement

EXHIBIT B: September 2015 Settlement Agreement without Attachments

EXHIBIT C: DEP October 2015 Order

EXHIBIT D: FKAA Stipulation November 30 2016

EXHIBIT E: FKAA Stipulation February 24 2017

EXHIBIT F: FKAA Stipulation March 3 2016

EXHIBIT G: FKAA Stipulation June 23 2016

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One thought on “Message to the Future: Remember Cudjoe Regional Shallow Wells May Only Be Used for Back-up

  1. Congrats and thank you to the citizens and attorneys who worked so hard on this.

    I’ve long been dismayed by the county’s reckless spending on the Cudjoe Regional project. But the deep well is something I’ve always supported. That is money well spent.

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