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Florida Bill Allows Companies to Dump Sewage Into the Biscayne Aquifer


In terms of overall water quality Florida ranks near last in a recent study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. There are multiple reasons for Florida’s sub-par water quality: tourism and overall growth are booming, but drinking water supplies untainted by saltwater or wastewater are severely limited.

In light of this water quality reality the passing of House Bill 1149 by the Florida legislature is even more frightening. The bill passed in the Florida Senate last week after being approved in the House the week before. The contents of the bill are the subject of much controversy, but the takeaway is this: if Governor Scott does not veto the bill developers and private companies will be able to dump waste and sewage directly into the Biscayne Aquifer.

Depending on where you live in Florida the Biscayne Aquifer may be your only source of clean drinking water. The clean underground aquifer stretches from Palm Beach County to the southernmost tip of the state, providing water to virtually all residents of Miami.

The aquifer already faces problems of possible saltwater leakages from the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, but if the bill is put into effect millions of gallons of sewage will find its way into the aquifer each day.

As the Miami New Times recently reported, the main source of contention is the treatment process that would be required before the wastewater was released into the aquifer. Environmental activists are emphatic in their stance that the standards for wastewater treatment are too lax, and translate into unsafe drinking water.

Linda Young, the director of the Clean Water Network of Florida, discussed the shortcomings of the proposed wastewater treatment with the Miami New Times. “The bill simply calls for the water to go through ‘advanced wastewater treatment,'” she noted. “That’s the only caveat for it. But if you look around the state, where advanced wastewater facilities are discharging, you find dead zones. It’s not that ‘advanced.’”

Among the contaminants that can still lurk in “treated” wastewater are heavy metals and carcinogens, which no homeowner would willingly drink. Partially treated sewage would still contain some pathogens.

In addition, the treatment process would not remove any pharmaceuticals from the water. The pharmaceutical runoff from human waste would contain everything from antidepressants to Viagra that would go completely unfiltered before dumping.

Some of the representatives who sponsored the bill are making the unsubstantiated claim that the dumping of wastewater would somehow improve the water quality. State Senator Keith Perry, who once tried to abolish the U.S. Supreme Court and owns a roofing business, said that dumping waste into the aquifer would “improve water quality in the aquifer.”

Citizens of Florida are running out of options for clean water sources, and if this bill becomes law every resident of Miami could be risking their health every time they turn on the tap. In order to properly assess your water quality and make the best decision to protect your family from sewage and other contaminants test your water using a Pelican Rapid Water Test.

We recommend speaking to a water specialist at (386) 463-0138 to safeguard you and your family from common water contaminants and problems. Every home is unique – call Pelican Water today to talk to an expert about the water issues in your region.

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