Judge: Turkey Point leaking saline into area aquifer

FPL's Turkey Point plant
FPL's Turkey Point plant

An administrative judge found that the cooling canal system at Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear power plant is the primary cause of saltwater infiltration of the Biscayne Aquifer, the main source of water for South Florida.

Judge Bram D.E. Canter recommended that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rescind or revise its December 23, 2014,  order approving  a new plan for FPL to fix the cooling canals at its nuclear plant in southeastern Miami-Dade County.

Judge Canter also said in an order he issued that the DEP order fails to require Florida Power & Light to comply with standards for groundwater quality or to specify a deadline for compliance.

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The judge determined the DEP measures have been ineffective so far, noting that FPL has caused excessive saltwater intrusion and sodium levels that violate state water regulations. The utility has unlined cooling canals at Turkey Point that allow hyper-saline water to seep into the Biscayne Aquifer.

In a prepared statement, FPL said it is taking action to upgrade conditions at Turkey Point: “FPL’s actions have been successful by reducing salinity levels in the Cooling Canal System [CCS], significantly improving water quality and stabilizing operations at the site.  In October 2015, FPL entered into a Consent Agreement with Miami Dade County that identifies additional actions FPL will undertake to address high chloride concentrations in the groundwater near the CCS.”

The Biscayne Aquifer lies beneath about 4,000 square miles of southern Florida and serves as the main source of water for Miami-Dade and Broward counties and for southeastern Palm Beach County.  [Palm Beach Post] — Mike Seemuth