EPA Proposal for Cleaner Wastewater Disposal in Florida Criticized

Dec. 28, 2000

South Florida utilities have criticized a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for higher standards of wastewater treatment before the water is disposed of underground, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Wastewater industry members described the higher standards for injection-well sewage as overkill, according to the newspaper. The policy, which the EPA is proposing to prevent wastewater pumped 3,000 feet into the ground from migrating into subterranean drinking-water reservoirs, requires utilities to clean their wastewater to near drinking-water standards.

This would inflate the cost of drinking water and water treatment fees for Florida municipalities, industry members said.

"The proposal ... will throw away a bright line of prevention of contamination and substitute it with a process that's full of holes and not in the best interest of the state," said Suzie Ruhl, president of the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, in the article.

Florida has used injection wells for sewage disposal for more than 20 years, and every day 400 million gallons of wastewater are sent into a formation called the boulder zone below the lowest underground source of drinking water, according to the article.

But the EPA says it has evidence that some of the sewage in 20 of the 98 injection wells is migrating upward, at which federal law demands that the wells be shut down.

(Source: Sun-Sentinel)

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