Three decades — or 33 years to be exact. That’s how long Florida Power & Light knew that contaminated water would leak from the cooling canal system (CCS) at its Turkey Point nuclear facility.
The company submitted information to the South Florida Water Management District in 1983 showing that a plume of hypersaline water had advanced nearly 1,000 feet beyond the CCS. A condition they agreed to prevent in 1972.
Since then, FPL and the state have failed at every opportunity to stop this contamination from advancing further west.
In 2008, FPL did nothing when we presented them with their own information documenting how the contamination stemmed from its CCS. In 2009, instead of taking action, FPL convinced regulators it would monitor the situation, even though the plume had already grown substantially since 1983. While denying the CCS was causing any problems in 2010, FPL prepared an internal document outlining more than 30-plus possible corrective actions to stop the salt water intrusion, but never implemented any of them.
While the pollution plume continued to grow, in 2013 FPL completed an uprate of the power plant that brought further strain to its CCS and caused temperatures and salinity levels to rise even further.
If you listen to FPL, there is no problem. FPL maintains that the saltwater leak poses no adverse impact to drinking water. That is simply not true.
The company’s response to the recent scrutiny is shocking in both its brazen arrogance and in creating a ‘solution’ that ironically helps FPL at the detriment of one of our region’s most precious resources.
It’s up to our elected leaders and environmental regulators to stand up to FPL and force it to stop the plume from moving westward. There are countless solutions to stop it, but it will require the political will to force them to do so.
Steve Torcise, Jr., president, Atlantic Civil, Miami