The city of Miami gets nearly all its drinking water from the clean and natural Biscayne Aquifer, which stretches from the southern tip of the state north to Palm Beach County. Because the Sunshine State is a desired locale for many, it seems that developers and utility companies “are constantly devising new and ingenious ways to contaminate the aquifer.”1 And now it seems the Legislature has made it easier to do just that. (Keep in mind that the water system already has to deal with rising sea-levels and saltwater leaking from Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, which we wrote about here.)


HB 1149, which passed the Senate after easily clearing the house, allows companies to dump “treated” sewage into drinking-water sources, as a way to “replenish aquifers that might have otherwise become polluted or threatened by saltwater intrusion.” 2 But environmentalists are demanding that Gov. Rick Scott veto the bill over obvious concerns that dumping a ton of chemicals into the water supply could permanently harm the irreplaceable resource that is the Biscayne Aquifer.


“Linda Young, the director of the Clean Water Network of Florida, says the bill is essentially a gift to property developers, who can continue to overbuild homes that suck aquifers dry.

‘The development community does not want to talk about limiting growth or development. We’re growing at 1,000 people per day again, and our tourism is growing all the time. But there’s not enough water or enough places to responsibly dispose of our sewage effluent. So this is something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. This is their answer for not having enough water for all the people moving here.'”3

At issue is the wastewater-treatment process itself; environmentalists warn that while the water injected into the aquifer might meet federal drinking-water standards those standards don’t go far enough. For example, it’s safe to bet that the water would still be full of “pharmaceutical runoff and traces of drugs left over from human waste, including antidepressants and Viagra.”4

In. Our. Drinking. Water.

As it currently stands, the bill proposes that utilities or other groups who withdraw large quantities of water from local underground stores could petition nearby water-management districts to let them pump reclaimed sewage back underground. 5

The bill reads,

“Examples of reclaimed  water use that may create an impact offset include, but are not limited to, the use of reclaimed water to:
a. Prevent or stop further saltwater intrusion;
b. Raise aquifer levels;
c. Improve the water quality of an aquifer; or
d. Augment surface water to increase the quantity of water available for water supply.”6

Young warns that all over the state where advanced wastewater facilities discharge, dead zones are found. But those responsible for pushing the bill don’t agree. This is utterly insane but State Sen. Keith Perry has claimed that the sewage-dumping process would actually make the aquifer cleaner!  


The Clean Water Network of Florida has called on Miamians to call their legislators and let them know that they don’t want to drink sewage water. If you live in the area, we suggest you do the same.

Sources and References

  1. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.
  2. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.
  3. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.
  4. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.
  5. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.
  6. Miami New Times, March 12, 2018.