In the first week of March 2016, the Division of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) of Miami-Dade County released a report showing that water from the cooling canals at FPL’s nuclear power plant, located at Turkey Point, is contaminating Biscayne Bay. The canals are also contaminating the Biscayne Aquifer, which is an underground water storage area that is the sole source of drinking water for millions of South Florida residents. Hypersaline (super salty) water laden with tritium (a radioactive isotope), phosphorous, and ammonia is passing through our porous limestone geology and into our water both above and below ground.
While our drinking water is still safe, our drinking water supply, stored in the aquifer, and the water in our Bay are being contaminated by FPL’s plant. For years now, salt and other chemicals from the canal water have been sinking into the Biscayne Aquifer and spreading, at a rate of over a foot a day, towards the well from which we draw our drinking water. If we don’t stop this spread, it will lead to an inevitable drinking water crisis. This contamination from the cooling canals in the aquifer already spreads for miles around Turkey Point.
The high levels of tritium in the aquifer and in the Bay act as a tracer to definitively link the water leaking into the Bay and the aquifer back to the cooling canals. The ammonia and phosphorous are very dangerous for Biscayne Bay too, because they can cause algae blooms, which kill fish, smother seagrass, can be harmful to people, and smell and look terrible. Historically, Biscayne Bay has not had algal blooms; however, in the last several years they have been persistent and are expanding.
We are asking the County to issue a Notice of Violation to FPL regarding the contamination of Biscayne Bay. For too many years, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has failed to find a solution to the cooling canal problem. We now ask that the EPA step in to investigate Clean Water Act violations and to find a lasting fix that keeps our drinking water safe and our Bay healthy. Furthermore, we feel that FPL should halt their plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point in light of the problems with the current plant operations. FPL must fix this mess.
FPL is also requesting permission to store radioactive waste underneath our drinking water using untested technology. Sign our petition below to keep our drinking water safe.