FPL said actions taken to reduce salinity levels, in addition to recent rains, have improved the water quality to the point that the company won’t need to access water from the South Florida Water Management District’s L-31 canal in the foreseeable future.
“We have been taking aggressive action to address the cooling canal system’s water quality challenges, and we are seeing significant progress,” said Randy LaBauve, FPL Vice President of Environmental Services. “We have been clear that it will take several years to fully resolve the canal system’s complex challenges – and that continues to be true – but the improvements we’re seeing are important steps forward.”
A Miami-Dade County study released earlier this month showed tritium levels in Biscayne Bay were up to 215 times higher than normal ocean water. A judge ordered FPL to clean up Turkey Point’s cooling canals after concluding they caused a huge underground saltwater plume to migrate west and threaten a wellfield that supplied drinking water to the Florida Keys. The canals started running hot after the completion of an uprate project. FPL, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have been working for more than a year on a comprehensive plan to improve water quality in and around the 168-mile cooling canal system. Excess storm water from the L-31 canal was being used temporarily to freshen the cooling canals. In February, FPL applied to continue to draw additional water from the canal. However, the company recently determined there is no need for the additional water from L-31.
FPL is moving ahead with long-term canal management, including utilizing brackish water from the Floridian aquifer to keep the salinity of the cooling canals in balance with the salinity of Biscayne Bay. In March, Florida’s Siting Board approved construction of wells to access the brackish water.
Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine