A recent Miami Herald article titled, “Could putting treated sewage in FPL nuclear canals pollute Biscayne Bay?” neglected to report many critical facts regarding the joint participation agreements developed by Miami-Dade County and Florida Power & Light.
Actually, the agreements establish a plan to provide major benefits for all county residents and are subject for approval by the County Commission on April 10, 2018.
The article implied that the agreements developed by Miami-Dade County and Florida Power & Light were solely intended to assist FPL in carrying out its work at the Turkey Point cooling canals.
However, these agreements do not obligate the county in any way other than to outline a plan for the county to consider once FPL has designed — at their sole expense — an advanced water treatment plant that would benefit the residents of Miami-Dade County in two ways.
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The state’s ocean outfall mandate requires that the county treat and reuse more than 100 million gallons a day of waste water by 2025. One of the agreements between FPL and the county includes a cost-sharing concept to treat at least 60 million gallons of water a day, but potentially the entire reuse requirement. The treated water would be used to recharge the cooling canals and establish a healthy ecosystem to prevent future pollution of Biscayne Bay and our aquifers.
Should the design yield an option meeting all state and federal regulatory requirements and be approved by the Board at a future date, the cost of this innovative solution would be shared, saving the residents money on their electricity bills and their water bills. The county pays for electricity, too, so this also would save taxpayers money.
Additionally, a separate agreement outlines the installation of more than 1 million solar panels in Miami-Dade. These panels would be placed in large-scale solar plants and potentially in bodies of water in the form of floating solar panels.
Smaller solar installations will be placed in parks and other facilities all around the county, along with electric vehicle charging stations.
We also will be implementing a pilot program to use battery storage to power parts of the Metrorail system, further reducing electricity costs for the county. Unfortunately, the article did not mention these key parts of the project, which are important to the future of Miami-Dade as we pursue innovative technology to protect our environment.
It is important that our regulating agencies continue to monitor and ensure FPL does the right thing as it continues to mitigate the impact of its cooling canal operations. We must also plan for the future of our county. Our children need to inherit a resilient community that embraces innovation and puts into practice sustainable solutions.
The agreements between FPL and the county outline a path to these goals, and are subject for approval by the County Commission on April 10.
As the county’s Budget Director, and Miami-Dade County resident, I am in full support.