Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, environmental authorities reach deal on injection well consent order

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department has come to an agreement with Florida environmental authorities on a consent order addressing MDWASD's deep injection wells at its South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWWTP).

Aug 29th, 2003

Aug. 29, 2003 -- The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (MDWASD) announced it has come to an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on a consent order addressing MDWASD's deep injection wells at its South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWWTP).

The agreement provides additional protection for the environment, while allowing MDWASD to continue using the wells and expand treatment capacity at the SDWWTP, acting as an engine for continued economic growth in Miami-Dade County.

The consent order safeguards the environment by calling on MDWASD to further treat wastewater effluent at the SDWWTP prior to discharging it via deep injection wells into the Floridan Aquifer. The state agreed to allow MDWASD some flexibility , giving MDWASD time to study several methods of treatment, as long as the method chosen meets State standards.

At the same time, MDWASD will now be able to use all of its wells-13 are currently in use but four others had not been permitted by the state--and increase treatment capacity at its SDWWTP. This will provide needed infrastructure to fuel economic growth in Miami-Dade County, particularly in its southernmost areas, areas which have only in recent years begun to fully recover from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

"This is a win-win for all of us," said MDWASD Director William M. Brant, P .E. "We will be allowed to maximize the use of facilities we have already invested in, provide for the growing needs of the County and at the same time, improve upon our very important mission of protecting the environment."

"This is the type of agreement that the governor can stand behind and be very proud of," said FDEP Deputy Secretary Allan F. Bedwell. "The plan safeguards South Florida's natural resources, provides water for environmental restoration and protects the long-term health of this growing regional economy."

"I am extremely pleased that Miami-Dade and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have reached agreement on the County's South District deep injection wells," said Henry Dean, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

"This agreement represents significant progress in preserving water resources in Southeast Florida and advancing water management practices in the county."

The Consent Order builds toward an integrated water management plan for Miami-Dade County for the next 20 years. It will allow MDWASD to test several different additional-treatment techniques, in order to determine which method best complies with State regulations and is most cost-effective to implement.

Some other key elements of the Consent Order are:

• The state will assist W ASD in obtaining as much as $100 million in low-interest State Revolving Fund loans to finance the additional treatment processes for the injection wells and the expansion of MDWASD's wastewater facilities

• It addresses MDWASD's responsibilities to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which entail wastewater reuse

• A commitment from the state for future allocations of water to Miami-Dade County.

MDWASD is one of the largest water and sewer utilities in the United States, serving most of Miami-Dade's 2.3 million residents on a retail or wholesale basis.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency in State government for environmental management; it is the main architect of the $7.8 billion plan to restore the Everglades.

The South Florida Water Management District manages and protects water resources from the Kissimmee chain of lakes through Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, including all of South Florida.

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