Feb 01, 2018

Miami-Dade, FPL May Fix Nuclear Cooling Canals with Treated Sewage

The potential project could cost hundreds of millions of dollars

Miami-Dade County may team up with FPL for wastewater treatment plant

Miami-Dade County and the company Florida Power and Light (FPL) may team up in attempt to solve a looming sewage problem off the Florida coast. The potential plan would see the county and the company share in the cost of a new wastewater treatment facility. The treated wastewater would subsequently be used to clean a compromised cooling canal system at Turkey Point’s nuclear reactors.

The problematic nuclear reactors have been leaking into groundwater, creating a saltwater plume that could potentially invade nearby wells that provide drinking water for residents. The plan would first need to be approved by county commissioners while also adhering to water quality rules.

“By going down this path, we no longer have to use the environment for our water source,” said Mike Sole, vice president of FPL.

However, undertaking such a project would mean extending the life of the reactors 20 years beyond their originally planned shutdown years of 2032 and 2033. This would be unprecedented, as there have been no instances of nuclear reactors operating for 80 years.

The area is also running up against a state-implemented deadline requiring the county to halt dumping of sewage offshore and to reuse 60% of its wastewater by 2025. The county originally had plans to construct a new plant without outside aid, but the project would have cost it around $1 billion.

County commissioners, the gatekeepers for such a project, will engage in initial discussions over the plan on Feb. 8, 2018. A full plan that will be subject to vote is expected some time in 2019.