File Number: 141944
|Printable PDF Format Clerk's Official Copy|
|File Number: 141944||File Type: Resolution||Status: Adopted|
|Version: 0||Reference: R-792-14||Control: Board of County Commissioners|
|Requester: Regulatory and Economic Resources||Cost:||Final Action: 9/16/2014|
|Sunset Provision: No||Effective Date:||Expiration Date:|
|Registered Lobbyist:||None Listed|
|Acting Body||Date||Agenda Item||Action||Sent To||Due Date||Returned||Pass/Fail|
|Board of County Commissioners||9/16/2014||5J||Adopted||P|
|REPORT:||First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Chairwoman Sosa opened the public hearing on the foregoing proposed resolution. Assistant County Attorney Abbie Schwaderer-Raurell noted this was a quasi-judicial item, and as such the County Attorney’s Office recommended that the Chairwoman aim to give equal time to the supporters and objectors of the item. Mr. Brian Carlstrom, Superintendent, Biscayne National Park, appeared before the Board and stated that this was the only national park located next to a power plant, Turkey Point. He noted recently concerns had been raised at Turkey Point regarding the cooling canal system. Mr. Ahlstrom said that the managers of the park were concerned about a precedent setting action of drawing down water from the L-31 east canal. He indicated that the cooling canal system had been in operation for close to 40 years, and there had never been any problems with the system until this past summer. Mr. Carlstrom suggested that Florida Power and Light (FPL) commission an independent review analyzing the cause of the change in the cooling canal system. He noted the temperature and salinity had increased; the quality of the water had decreased; and it was crucial to understand why this was happening. Referring to the 5th Supplemental Agreement, a monitoring regime that had been put in place, Mr. Carlstrom asked that it remain unchanged, or that it be enhanced. He said that Biscayne National Park was an amazing resource that should be kept for future generations. Mr. Ed Swakon, 55 Almeria Ave, President of EAS Engineering, appeared before the Board, noting he was representing Atlantic Civil, Inc., a substantial family-owned agricultural and mining interest in South Dade that owns property located immediately west of the cooling canal system operated by FPL. Mr. Swakon indicated that Atlantic Civil had been located in the same area for over 90 years. He said that for years they had been concerned with the hyper-salinity within the cooling canal system. He noted a review of the water quality data collected by FPL over the past 40 years revealed that hyper saline water from the cooling canal system was creating a significant water quality violation of the ground water in South Miami-Dade County, in contravention of Chapter 24. Mr. Swakon stated that today’s (9/16) action to withdraw 100 million gallons of water per day from the surface water management system was counter-intuitive to addressing that problem. He urged the County, through the Department for Environmental Resources Management (DERM), to immediately address this water quality violation emanating from the cooling canal system. He said that FPL needed to address the hyper saline water quality plume with the same urgency it was using to address the algae and temperature problem being considered by the Board. He noted the solutions presented by FPL to both the Florida Department for Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District (WMD) were not adequate. He recommended that as a condition to any approval today FPL be required to present DERM with a program to aggressively abate, mitigate and remediate the water quality violations from the cooling canal system within 60 days. Ms. Julie Dick, 660 Crandon Blvd., Suite 223, Key Biscayne, Fl., Everglades Law Center, appeared before the Board, noting she was representing the National Parks Conservation Association and the Tropical Audubon Society. She said that she and four other speakers had prepared a presentation and requested 15 minutes in total for all organizations. Pursuant to Chairwoman Sosa’s question as to whether Ms. Dick, Ms. Laura Reynolds, Mr. Jim Porter, Ms. Caroline McLaughlin and Mr. Christopher McVoy were among the speakers who had prepared the presentation, Ms. Dick confirmed that they were. Chairwoman Sosa granted the request. Ms. Dick said that her colleagues and she elevated this Class 1 Permit Application to a public hearing because they were concerned about the significant implications of the issues with the cooling canal system at Turkey Point and the environmental impacts of the long-term contamination existing within and underneath the cooling canal system. She indicated that they were also concerned with the multiple emergency orders and approvals that had been granted to FPL over this past summer. She noted the concerns related specifically to the algae bloom and increasing water salinity and temperature in the cooling canal system. Ms. Dick displayed a slide depicting a September 2013 image of the cooling canal system, which showed that the water was a pea-green color as a result of an algae bloom, whereas in a previous image the water appeared clear. She said that there was a significant water quality concern within the system, which seemed to be caused by increasing salinity and temperature over time, in addition to nutrient loading. Ms. Dick stated that she and her colleagues were concerned that the ground water contamination would be long term, as it emanated towards Biscayne National Park, and to the West underneath the wetlands. Ms. Dick also indicated that the measures that had been requested had some significant implications, as well. She noted the permit application being considered by the Board today (9/16) would allow FPL to construct pipes and pumps that would draw up to 100 million gallons of water daily from the L-31 east canal into the cooling canal system. She said that this represented a quarter of local usage for the entire County, and was fresh water that was important ecologically for Biscayne Bay. Ms. Dick indicated that since June 2014, FPL had made emergency requests to several agencies, and she displayed a slide listing the emergency approvals and emergency orders granted to FPL. Even if the Board members voted to approve the permit application, she asked that the members require FPL to make an effort to understand the root cause of this problem in order to find a long-term solution. Mr. Christopher McVoy, 1514 15th Ave. North, Lakeworth, Fl., appeared before the Board, noting he was a hydrologist and ecologist, who worked for many years for the WMD. He said that the Board was being asked to approve a temporary emergency measure, and this should present an alarm, because this implied that the problem was understood; however, there was no consensus as to why the problem had gotten worse. Mr. McVoy urged the Board members to insist for a third-party independent study to understand the change in water salinity and temperature. He stated that a plume of high salinity and tritium-laden water was emanating from the cooling canals. According to regulations, noted Mr. McVoy, this water should be pushed eastward and not westward, and the interceptive canals had mechanisms to do that. He explained that if water was drawn from the L-31 east canal, which was located east of the cooling canals, water would be pushed westward. He said this indicated that it was necessary to ensure that the 5th Supplemental Agreement was adhered to, and that the monitoring program was maintained. He urged the Board members, if they approved the permit application, to require an independent study and additional monitoring. Ms. Laura Reynolds, 5530 Sunset Drive, Miami, Fl., appeared before the Board, noting she was representing the Tropical Audubon Society. She said that she would focus specifically on Biscayne Bay, which was iconic for this community. She emphasized that everything possible must be done to protect it, because it was a critically important ecosystem, with its wetlands, and marshes. She displayed a slide depicting how this important ecosystem had been cut off from the Everglades over the years. She discussed some of the initiatives of the Everglades restauration that had been undertaken to remedy this situation, including Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands. Ms. Reynolds suggested that the County Administration review this application to ascertain whether it complied with the conservation element of the Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). She displayed a slide on the Biscayne Bay Water Reservation Phase 1 and recalled that discussions were held in 2012 about the need for a Phase 2 water reservation, as every single drop was critical for Biscayne Bay. She suggested that proactive measures be put in place to protect Biscayne Bay. Ms. Carol McLaughlin, 450 N. Park Road, Hollywood, Fl., appeared before the Board, noting she represented the National Parks Conservation Association (NPC). She stated that NPC was a non-profit, non-partisan, parks advocacy group that acts to preserve the national parks system for present and future generations. She said that Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park were extremely important to NPC’s members, who enjoyed using the bay for recreational purposes, and cared deeply about its future health and sustainability. Ms. McLaughlin indicated that the identification of long-term solutions to the current situation was critical. She noted FPL was asking for a temporary measure, but emphasized that this should not become a precedent; and there should be an intensive effort to identify solutions that would address the underlying causes of the current situation. She urged the Commission to direct staff to dedicate resources to the concerns associated with the cooling canals and to expand monitoring to better characterize the conditions within the canals and the surrounding environment. She stated that NPC remained committed to seeing progress on Biscayne Bay coastal wetlands. Ms. McLaughlin suggested that all involved parties work collaboratively to achieve the much needed restoration. She also suggested that the temporary pipes and structures that would be installed if the application was approved be removed no later than November 1st, 2014. In closing, Ms. Dick indicated that she and her colleagues were requesting that the commissioners include significant conditions if they decided to grant the permit. She noted she had provided to the Board language pertaining to those conditions, including an independent study and analysis to identify the root cause of the problems within the cooling canal system. She pointed out that this permit application was directly related to these problems and it was imperative to understand the root cause before approving the application. Ms. Dick said that in addition they were requesting monitoring to determine whether the water quality was impacted as water was withdrawn from the L-31 east canal. Finally, she noted they were requesting that any pipes and pumps installed as a result of the permit be removed by November 1, 2014. Mr. Steven Scroggs, Senior Director, Florida Power and Light (FPL), appeared before the Board, noting FPL had submitted an application for temporary wetlands impact in order to lay two pipes on the ground for 170 feet. He said that the monitoring program had been in place since 2009, and FPL was trying to identify long-term solutions. However, in conjunction with the WMD, FPL had identified a short-term opportunity to tap into excess surface water, stated Mr. Scroggs. He pointed out the short-term benefit of tapping into the surface water, which would help alleviate the high temperature and salinity within the cooling canal system. Chairwoman Sosa kept the public hearing open to allow the public access to the discussion. Chairwoman Sosa noted the quality of the water in the Turkey Point canals had deteriorated since they were built in 1970. She asked Mr. Scroggs to explain the reason the water in those canals was more than twice as salty as the water in Biscayne Bay. Mr. Scroggs said he disagreed that the water quality in Turkey Point had deteriorated since 1970. He stated that the water quality varied with the season. He explained that this was an open system, which gathered rain fall every year. He noted on average 75 inches of rain fell into the cooling canal system; and this diluted the salinity in the summer, whereas the salinity and temperature rose in the winter. Mr. Scroggs indicated that in the last two years the 75 inches of rain was reduced to 20 inches, and this was the precipitating event which resulted in higher water salinity and temperature. He stated that to-date only 26 inches of rain had fallen into the system in 2014. He noted FPL had been monitoring the system, and had taken available actions to ensure that the salinity and temperature remained within certain ranges; however, this year these indicators were out of range, and FPL informed both federal, State and local regulators of the specific situation. Chairwoman Sosa stated that the National Weather Service determined that there had not been a significant difference in temperature for this year’s rainy season and that there had been above average rainfall in South Florida. She noted when Turkey Point was built it was with the understanding that it would provide the needed power, but also that it would be a cleaner system for the environment. She asked what assurances the commissioners had that the water transfer would be for a short term, and that the pipes and pumps would be removed in a timely manner. Mr. Scroggs indicated that the emergency order issued by the WMD was very specific, as it would terminate by October 15, 2014, and 30 days later, FPL would have to have all of its equipment removed from the WMD wetland areas. Responding to Commissioner Moss’ question as to the Administration’s analysis of the amount of rainfall in South Florida in the last few years, and the increase in temperature in the cooling canal system, Mr. Lee Hefty, Director, DERM, noted FPL had received approval from the State to upgrade the existing nuclear power plants for additional power efficiency; and linked to this upgrade was an expected increase in the temperature within the cooling canal system. He noted the changes in water quality coincided with the time of the upgrade, when FPL began shutting down the canals to retrofit existing units; subsequently, when the units were turned back on, there was a change in the water salinity and temperature. Mr. Hefty said he believed that the changes were related to the upgrade. He indicated that DERM was recommending approval of the application, only as a temporary measure, and that FPL should identify long-term solutions to the water quality problems. In response to Commissioner Moss’ question as to how these high temperatures could be decreased, Mr. Hefty said that in the short-term, FPL would need to ensure that the cooling canal system functioned well enough to cool the nuclear units; and in the long-term, it would be necessary to mitigate the impact that the cooling canal system has had on groundwater. He said that the water in the cooling canal system had moved outside of the boundaries of the system, and had impacted groundwater; and the Administration’s job was to protect the groundwater. Pursuant to Commissioner Moss’ question as to whether the County had the necessary regulatory authority to rule on this item, Mr. Hefty noted the County had jurisdiction to rule on this resolution as it pertained to a short-term application for a permit to place plumbing across wetland areas. He said that in the long-term, the County had jurisdiction on water quality impacts beyond FPL’s property. Mr. Hefty stated that DERM would be evaluating the County’s regulatory authority to work with FPL on a longer-term solution. He stated that the WMD had authority over consumptive use permitting; however, under the County Code, the Administration had the responsibility to evaluate the water quality and hydrologic impacts of a project. Mr. Hefty said that DERM planned to ask FPL to monitor this particular project to ensure that it was not further exacerbating water quality by pumping water from the L-31 east canal. Responding to Commissioner Moss’ question regarding whether the Administration was certain that the water from the cooling canal system was migrating outside of the boundaries of the system, Mr. Hefty explained that the monitoring required of FPL had demonstrated that the water was migrating outside of the boundaries of that system. In response to Commissioner Moss’ question as to whether monitoring would continue even if the application was approved, Mr. Hefty assured the commissioner that this particular project would be monitored. He said that separately the State and the WMD also required monitoring, and DERM was considering exerting the County’s regulatory authority to secure FPL’s commitment to monitoring in order to resolve the problem of water migrating outside of the cooling canal system. Pursuant to Commissioner Moss’ question regarding how this would be done, Mr. Hefty indicated that until now the County had been working through the State. However, he stated, it may be necessary for the County to initiate an enforcement action. Responding to Commissioner Moss’ question as to how the temporary measure would affect the nuclear power plant’s operation, Mr. Hefty noted the intent was to allow FPL to access fresh water that was cooler than the water in the cooling canal system in order to maximize its use of the Turkey Point power plant. He pointed out, however, that there was no guarantee that there would be additional water for FPL to pump; and the WMD had the authority to decide if there was enough water to pump. In response to Commissioner Moss’ question regarding DERM’s assessment of the rainfall in South Florida over the past few years, Mr. Hefty indicated that the WMD had a rain gauge in the general vicinity of the cooling canal system, and this year was not the driest; it was the second driest in the past five years. However, he noted, South Florida had experienced droughts in the past, and he did not believe that the problems with the cooling canal system were entirely related to the weather. He said he believed that these problems were the result of the upgrades that FPL had made to the nuclear power plants; after the upgrades, the water quality in the cooling canals changed, which triggered an algae bloom. Mr. Hefty stated that FPL was hoping to cool down the water and use treatments to remove the residual algae in the cooling canal system. Pursuant to Commissioner Moss’ question as to what needed to be done to understand why the salinity and temperature of the water in the cooling canal system had been increasing, Mr. Hefty noted in the short term it would be necessary to address the existing water quality, and modify it to allow FLP to continue using the cooling canal system; and in the long-term it would be necessary to minimize the impact of the salt intrusion. He said that it would be useful to find fresher, cooler water in order to solve the problems with the cooling canal system. In addition, if FPL could remove the algae and nutrients from the system, this would be beneficial for the water quality. Mr. Hefty said that with regard to the migration of the salt front, putting additional fresh water resources on the landscape would minimize the impact of salt migrating to the west, and help restore the wetlands. He indicated that farther out into the future, FPL was considering building cooling towers that would utilize re-use water; therefore, eventually, FPL would stop using the cooling canal system. Responding to Commissioner Moss’ question as to whether DERM was favorable to the County commissioning an independent review of the causes of the problems with the cooling canal system, as called for by the environmental community, Mr. Hefty noted this was not an unreasonable request. However, he said, the data suggested that the causes were related to the upgrades that FPL had made to the nuclear power plants. In response to Commissioner Diaz’ question as to who was responsible for the water quality in the cooling canal systems, Mr. Hefty noted the State of Florida issued the permits for the cooling canals. Commissioner Diaz noted if FPL was the holder of the permit, then it was responsible for the quality of the water in the cooling canal systems. He recalled that two years ago, the County Commission congratulated FPL for its achievements. He asked Mr. Hefty to explain the impact of a tritium increase on the water. Mr. Hefty explained that tritium was a compound associated with the operation of a nuclear facility. He noted DERM had used tritium to trace the water from the cooling canals, and had found that this water was migrating outside of the boundaries of the system. Commissioner Diaz noted if FPL was responsible for the quality of the water in the cooling canal systems, it must find solutions to this problem. Mr. Scroggs noted what was being proposed in the foregoing resolution would help reduce salinity and temperature of the water in the cooling canal system; however, it was not a long-term solution. Commissioner Diaz said he agreed that a short-term solution was needed; however the environmental community was asking for an independent study to understand the underlying cause of the problems. He observed that FPL, DERM and the WMD had worked together in the past to find solutions to these issues, and said he had faith in the assessment of DERM’s director. Mr. Scroggs noted Mr. Hefty’s observations were correct. However, he stated that as a result of the increase in salinity, and the algae bloom, the water had a higher heat capacity. He indicated that these compounding factors could create the short-term water migrations that had been observed. Commissioner Diaz pointed out that those compounding factors could hurt the environment if they were not addressed. He noted he was not opposed to the proposed permit if it was temporary and only valid until October 14, 2014. He asked whether the WMD would also monitor this specific project. Mr. Scroggs clarified that the permit would be available until October 14, but every day the WMD monitored the flow in the surface canal system, and made a determination as to whether FPL could pump water. Pursuant to Commissioner Diaz’ question as to whether DERM viewed this application favorably, Mr. Hefty confirmed that DERM’s recommendation was to approve this as a temporary measure, and to work with FPL to solve the bigger problem in the long run. Commissioner Diaz stated that it would be advisable for the environmental community to be involved in identifying the long-term solution. Chairwoman Sosa noted the environmental community had requested to be given access to the data collected by FPL. She asked whether DERM could share this with them. Mr. Hefty said that this data was part of the public record. Responding to Chairwoman Sosa’s question regarding whether the resolution included a date when the pipes and pumps would be removed, Mr. Hefty confirmed that it did. Chairwoman Sosa stressed that she wished for DERM and FPL to begin working on a long-term solution. She suggested that they begin working on building the cooling towers, noting FPL was a good partner that would not want to hurt the environment and would work to protect the County’s drinking water. Mr. Scroggs stated that FPL was committed to identifying a long-term solution. Ms. Julie Dick noted she and her colleagues would be happy to receive the data, but would also like to have an analysis, or a study verifying the cause of this problem. Chairwoman Sosa asked the County Attorney’s Office to draft a resolution requesting the Administration to convene a technical working group to devise a long-term solution to the high water salinity and temperature in the cooling canal system. Ms. Julie Dick noted the environmental community had requested the formation of such a technical working group and the WMD was favorable to this suggestion. She said that they were very concerned that the foregoing application may be a precedent, and anything that could be done to ensure that such an application would not come before the County Commission again would be helpful. Commissioner Moss asked the Administration to provide an assessment of the cost of an independent study regarding the high water salinity and temperature in the cooling canal system. Mayor Gimenez noted the Administration was concerned about the viability of the cooling canal system in the long run, and FPL needed to ensure that salinity was reduced within the system. He reiterated that the new reactors would have cooling towers, and the cooling canals would become a secondary source of power in the future. Chairwoman Sosa closed the public hearing after no one else appeared wishing to speak. Hearing no further comments or questions, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed resolution, as presented. In response to Chairwoman Sosa’s question as to whether the Mayor would work with DERM on enforcement issues, Mayor Gimenez confirmed that he would. Ms. Laura Reynolds stressed that the conditions put forth by the environmental community were an opportunity to gain greater understanding of the Turkey Point water cooling system.|
|County Attorney||9/8/2014||Assigned||Abbie N. Schwaderer||9/9/2014|
|County Mayor||9/8/2014||Assigned||County Attorney||9/16/2014|
|REPORT:||RER - No Sponsor - No cmte review - (Public Hearing @ BCC) - County Attorney: Abbie Schwaderer-Raurell - Attachments: Class 1 Permit Application|
|County Mayor||9/8/2014||Assigned||Jack Osterholt||9/8/2014|
RESOLUTION APPROVING A CLASS I PERMIT APPLICATION BY FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY FOR TEMPORARY IMPACTS TO 0.24 ACRES OF HALOPHYTIC WETLANDS AT SW 344 STREET AND THEORETICAL SW 356 STREET, AND THE L-31E CANAL IN THE VICINITY OF THE TURKEY POINT POWER PLANT, AT THE PROPERTIES IDENTIFIED BY FOLIO NUMBERS 30-7029-001-0011, 30-7290-000-0010, AND 30-7029-001-0012, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA
WHEREAS, this Board desires to accomplish the purposes outlined in the accompanying memorandum, a copy of which is incorporated herein by reference,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board having considered all the applicable factors contained within Section 24-48.3 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, hereby approves the Class I permit application by Florida Power and Light Company for temporary impacts to 0.24 acres of halophytic wetlands at SW 344 Street and theoretical SW 356 Street, and the L-31E Canal in the vicinity of the Turkey Point Power Plant, at the properties identified by folio numbers 30-7029-001-0011, 30-7290-000-0010, and 30-7029-001-0012, Miami-Dade County, Florida, subject to the conditions set forth in the memorandum from the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, a copy of which is attached hereto and made a part hereof. The issuance of this approval does not relieve the applicant from obtaining all applicable Federal, State, and local permits.
Date: September 16, 2014
To: Honorable Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa
and Members, Board of County Commissioners
From: Carlos A. Gimenez
Subject: Class I Permit Application by Florida Power and Light Company for Temporary
Impacts to 0.24 Acres of Halophytic Wetlands at SW 344 Street and Theoretical SW
356 Street, and the L-31E Canal in the Vicinity of the Turkey Point Power Plant, at
the Properties Identified by Folio Numbers 30-7029-001-0011, 30-7290-000-0010,
and 30-7029-001-0012 in Miami-Dade County, Florida
Attached, please find for your consideration an application by Florida Power and Light Company for a Class I permit. Also attached is the recommendation of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Division of Environmental Resources Management (RER-DERM) and a proposed resolution approving the issuance of the Class I permit.
Jack Osterholt, Deputy Mayor
Date: September 5, 2014
To: Carlos A. Gimenez
From: Jack Osterholt, Deputy Mayor / Director
Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources
Subject: Class I Permit Application by Florida Power and Light Company for Temporary
Impacts to 0.24 Acres of Halophytic Wetlands at SW 344 Street and Theoretical SW
356 Street, and the L-31E Canal in the Vicinity of the Turkey Point Power
I have reviewed the attached application for a Class I permit by Florida Power and Light Company (FPL). Based upon the applicable evaluation factors set forth in Section 24-48.3 of the Code of Miami-Dade County (Code), I recommend that the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners (Board) approve the issuance of a Class I permit for the reasons set forth below.
Due to the limited timeframe in which to conduct the proposed work as described by the applicant in Attachment D, the applicant has requested a waiver of the Mayorís 10-day veto period to allow this resolution to become effective immediately upon the earlier of 1) ten (10) days after the date of its adoption unless vetoed by the County Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board, or 2) approval by the County Mayor of this Resolution and the filing of this approval with the Clerk of the Board.
The proposed work will occur at SW 344 Street and theoretical SW 356 Street in the vicinity of the Turkey Point Power Plant at properties identified by folio numbers 30-7029-001-0011, 30-7290-000-0010, and 30-7029-001-0012 in Commission District 9 (Commissioner Dennis C. Moss).
Fiscal Impact/Funding Source
This resolution is a regulatory approval and does not have a fiscal impact as contemplated by Resolution No. R-530-10.
The Natural Resources Division Chief, Lisa Spadafina, within the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, Division of Environmental Resources Management (RER-DERM), will be responsible for monitoring the proposed permit.
This Class I permit application requests authorization for temporary impacts to 0.24 acres of halophytic (salt-tolerant) wetlands through the installation of temporary pipelines and associated equipment to provide for the short-term transfer of water from the L-31E Canal to the FPL Turkey Point Power Plant Cooling Canal System. Although the proposed work could have been processed administratively as a short form permit application, the project may only be approved by the Board after public hearing because RER-DERM has received a request pursuant to Section 24-48.2(I)(B)(1) of the Code of Miami-Dade County that the project be processed as a standard form application, including a public hearing.
FPL owns and operates a cooling canal system consisting of an approximately 5,900 acre network of unlined canals at Turkey Point. The cooling canal system was constructed in the early 1970s to serve as a heat exchange for four of the five power plant units at Turkey Point. Long-term monitoring data from FPL indicates that water quality within the cooling canal system has deteriorated over time, with cooling canal salinities measured at more than twice the values typically found in Biscayne Bay. In addition, monitoring data indicate that a hyper-saline plume of cooling canal water is migrating outside the boundaries of the cooling canal system through the groundwater pathway.
In October 2008, FPL received approval from the state to modify the existing nuclear power plant units to increase their power generating capacity (referred to as an ďuprateĒ). As a condition of that approval, FPL implemented an enhanced monitoring plan to further evaluate water quality associated with the cooling canal system. After construction began on the power plant uprate work at Turkey Point in early 2012, testing conducted by FPL indicated that water quality in the cooling canal system further deteriorated. The water quality has also been more recently affected by an algal bloom. FPL reports that the cooling canal system is currently experiencing higher salinities and higher temperatures, and as a result of these conditions, the system is not functioning as it was intended. To address the issue, FPL proposes to reduce the temperature and salinity levels in the cooling canal system by adding cooler and less saline water to the system, which will allow them to further implement additional measures to correct the functionality of the system. FPL recently started pumping additional water from the Floridan Aquifer well into the cooling canal system to improve water quality. However, FPL has indicated that more water is needed and has proposed to install a series of temporary pipes and pumps to convey cooler fresh water from the L-31E Canal into the cooling canal system on a temporary basis. This Class I permit would authorize FPL to impact wetlands, in order to install these proposed temporary pipes and pumps.
Section 24-48.3 of the Code requires that the RER-DERM evaluate environmental and related impacts including but not limited to hydrology, water quality, and any other environmental values affecting the public interest, when deciding whether to recommend approval or denial of a proposed project. RER-DERM staff has reviewed FPLís proposal and has also coordinated with staff at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The SFWMD has issued an Emergency Order authorizing the temporary installation of pipes and pumps for water withdrawal from the L-31E Canal (Attachment E). Pursuant to the SFWMD Emergency Order, the withdrawal of water from the L-31E Canal is only authorized on a temporary basis through October 14, 2014, and will only be authorized when the amount of water available exceeds the water reservation required for Nearshore Central Biscayne Bay as determined daily by the SFWMD. The SFWMD will evaluate real-time data to confirm the previous dayís discharge along with projected conditions for the following 24 hour period and will calculate the volume of water that can be pumped. Those directions will be conveyed to FPL each day.†If during the course of the day it appears the total discharge may not support the dayís allocation based on real-time flow monitoring, FPL will be directed by the SFWMD to modify and/or cease all withdrawals for the remainder of the day to ensure the reservation allocation for Biscayne Bay is met. All pumps are required to be manned by pump operators on site 24 hours per day and each pump must be equipped with an operable remote control device capable of starting or stopping the pump.†FPLís operational plan will also require that they synchronize the volumes and rates of pumping to avoid dewatering of the adjacent wetlands. To further address potential hydrologic and water quality impacts, the applicant will implement a monitoring program as required through the SFWMD Emergency Order and through conditions of the Class I permit.
The direct physical impacts from the construction of the proposed project will result in temporary impacts to approximately 0.24 acres of halophytic wetlands. However, these impacts will be minimized to the extent practicable. All pipes and associated equipment will be required to be removed from the wetlands upon completion of the pumping operations. In addition, the applicant will restore the impacted area by re-grading, if necessary, and planting native species. Mitigation for the temporary impacts to halophytic wetlands will be satisfied through the purchase of 0.084 mitigation credits from the Florida Power and Light Company Everglades Mitigation Bank.
The proposed project site is not located within an area designated as essential manatee habitat by the Miami-Dade County Manatee Protection Plan. However, the Class I permit will require that all standard construction permit conditions regarding manatees be followed during in-water operations.
FPLís present request to use surface water from the L-31E Canal involves a limited opportunity temporary measure to reduce temperature and salinity in the cooling canals to restore the short term operability of the system. The attached resolution recommends approval of the Class I permit as a short-term response. A long-term solution that appropriately addresses water quality and hydrologic impacts associated with the cooling canal system is needed. County staff has been working through the state on issues related to the impacts of the cooling canal system and will be working with FPL through the Countyís regulatory framework for a long-term and sustainable resolution.
The proposed project has been designed in accordance with all relevant Miami-Dade County coastal construction criteria and is consistent with all Miami-Dade County coastal protection provisions. The attached Project Report sets forth the reasons the proposed project is recommended for approval pursuant to the applicable evaluation factors set forth in Section 24-48.3 of the Code. The conditions, limitations, and restrictions set forth in the Project Report attached hereto are incorporated herein by references hereto.
Attachment A: Class I Permit Application
Attachment B: Owner/Agent Letter, Engineer Certification Letter, and Project Sketches
Attachment C: Zoning Memorandum
Attachment D: Request by Florida Power and Light Company to the South Florida Water Management District for Emergency Authorization of Temporary Water Withdrawal from Excess Stormwater from L-31E Canal
Attachment E: Emergency Final Order Issued to Florida Power and Light Company by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD No. 2014-078-DAO-WU/ ROW/ERP)
Attachment F: RER-DERM Project Report
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