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Florida legislators OK plan to dump sewage into drinking-water aquifers

The city of Miami gets nearly all its drinking water from the clean and natural Biscayne Aquifer, which stretches from the southern tip of the state north to Palm Beach County. Because the Sunshine State is a desired locale for many, it seems that developers and utility companies “are constantly devising new and ingenious ways to contaminate the aquifer.”1 And now it seems the Legislature has made it easier to do just that. (Keep in mind that the water system already has to deal with rising sea-levels and saltwater leaking from Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, which we wrote about here.)

HB 1149, which passed the Senate after easily clearing the house, allows companies to dump “treated” sewage into drinking-water sources, as a way to “replenish aquifers that might have otherwise become polluted or threatened by saltwater intrusion.” 1 But environmentalists are demanding that Gov. Rick Scott veto the bill over obvious concerns that dumping a ton of chemicals into the water supply could permanently harm the irreplaceable resource that is the Biscayne Aquifer.

“Linda Young, the director of the Clean Water Network of Florida, says the bill is essentially a gift to property developers, who can continue to overbuild homes that suck aquifers dry.

‘The development community does not want to talk about limiting growth or development. We’re growing at 1,000 people per day again, and our tourism is growing all the time. But there’s not enough water or enough places to responsibly dispose of our sewage effluent. So this is something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. This is their answer for not having enough water for all the people moving here.’”1