FPL stopping algae bloom safely

07/21/2014 7:31 PM

07/21/2014 7:33 PM

Florida Power & Light Co. employees work hard to ensure the reliability of our electric system remains among the best in the nation. During hot, humid summer months, these efforts are especially important because of the higher seasonal demand for electricity across the state.

During the past several months, the system of canals that provides cooling water to the Turkey Point plant has experienced greater-than-normal algae growth.

The algae bloom, coupled with significantly less rainfall and lower water levels, has resulted in warmer water temperatures in the canals.

If left unaddressed, this could cause electric-generation challenges. While these canals are permitted as an industrial wastewater facility and solely exist to provide cooling water to the plant, our comprehensive strategy to address the algae has been designed to both maintain high electric reliability while also protecting the environment. It’s important to note that we have not seen any fish kills or impact on the American crocodile population or other wildlife.

After significant independent analysis, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reviewed and approved our plan, which follows a well-established protocol to treat the algae with water additives. These additives are commonly used across the country in waterways at golf courses and in community lakes. In addition, we have been permitted to flow additional salt-water into the cooling canals to help lower the overall temperature.

To be clear, this additional water is not from Biscayne Bay or from drinking water sources, but from salt-water aquifers. FPL is steadfast in its focus on environmental stewardship, particularly at Turkey Point, where the vast majority of land is protected as wildlife habitat where a variety of species, including the once-endangered American Crocodile, have thrived.

For decades, FPL has worked hand-in-glove with independent scientists, environmentalists and other stakeholders to ensure the need for reliable energy is balanced with protecting the environment.

This is a commitment we have and continue to take seriously.

Randy LaBauve, vice president, environmental services, FPL, Juno Beach

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