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Quote of the Day - Every Night is Earth Night! - Earth Liberation Front

Florida Polluted Water Has Nationwide Effect

Where do you put polluted water? If you're the South Florida Water Management District, you dump it in the Everglades ecosystem. The SFWMD acknowledges that the water it pumps (at the rate of 423,000 gallons per minute) into the Everglades is polluted, but it claims it has nowhere else to put it.
Makes sense, doesn't it?

The pump sits on a more than 90-mile long levy system that serves as the border between the Everglades and suburbs stretching from West Palm Beach to Miami-Dade County. To the south is the 666-acre reservation where many of the 500-member Miccosukee Indian tribe live.

To add insult to injury, the water is polluting 189,000 acres of land the state leased to the tribe and promised to keep in its natural state.

Runoff from yards, agricultural and industrial areas contains fertilizers that have high levels of phosphates. The pollution changes the water chemistry, killing some native plants and allowing other nonnative plants - such as cattails - to thrive.

Chief William Buffalo Tiger first noticed large quantities of snakes dying when the pumping started in 1957. My calculator doesn't have enough decimals to do the math to determine how many gallons have been pumped since then.

The Miccosukees and an environmental group, Friends of the Everglades, sued the water management district in 1998 under the Clean Water Act. They argued that water managers need a federal permit to pump polluted water into the Everglades, where it would not otherwise flow.

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case tomorrow. The outcome will have far-reaching effects, going far enough to cause water agencies to treat polluted storm water runoff before rerouting it.

In California, that could mean billions to treat storm water before it hits the ocean. Ironically, Florida and the federal government are embarking on a 30-year, $8.4 billion project to restore the natural water flow through the Everglades.

The SFWMD plans to treat the water being pumped first. Good thinking, but a little late.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on 1/13/2004 at 11:14 Comments (0)


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