SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed


If We're Serious about Clean Estuaries, We'll Look at Emergency Protection Wells

June 28, 2018 - 2:30pm

Last week I read a guest column from Florida Oceanographic Society Exexutive Director Mark Perry on, headlined "Flawed water delivery system continues to imperil estuaries." 

I have known Mr. Perry for years and know that he cares deeply about South Florida’s environment and the beauty and health of its waters. I know he means well in his efforts. However, some of his statements within the piece are factually impaired. Sure, advocates need support to further their goals, but key facts must be presented to a readership seeking to truly make a difference. That’s the right thing to do.

As a lifelong Treasure Coast resident who volunteers time to serve on the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board, I want nothing more than to “get the water right” throughout our 16 counties. But this Board cannot “get the water right” when inaccurate information makes its rounds to our constituents. 

Misinformation results in a domino effect that can have real consequences on the future of restoration in South Florida. False information is published, the public accepts it as fact, campaigns of support are raised and media channels use this misinformation as if it were gospel. This can cause delays to existing restoration efforts or cause the leapfrogging of projects that are key to resolving the very problem being espoused. A clear and complete understanding of how water management works in South Florida is necessary for us all to collectively make headway on restoration. 

Mr. Perry has been around South Florida long enough to know the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has full control and responsibility over Lake Okeechobee and has full authority to make any releases from Lake Okeechobee for public safety. When Mr. Perry states that on June 1, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District began discharging billions of gallons of water from Lake Okeechobee,” he is using sleight of hand. The District does not release water to the estuaries, and Mr. Perry and the newspaper that published his column know better. 

To make it perfectly clear, SFWMD is a flood control agency. In addition to our extensive restoration efforts, our primary mission is to protect all land, families and businesses from flooding. We provide flood protection for 8.1 million residents in 16 counties the same way. 

If Mr. Perry truly wanted to support real solutions, ones that can actually be completed and make a difference, he should stand behind programs like SFWMD’s study of "emergency estuary protection wells," also known as deep injection wells, that could divert excess water in emergency situations when it would otherwise get sent unchecked to the estuaries.

That is a solution that can be built in two to three years and aid in reducing discharges while working in conjunction with larger storage and water management projects both in the near term and once restoration projects are completed. In that scenario, no one gets harmed, and all parties are treated equally. 

This Board fully recognizes that water is a critical resource, and we are not in the business of wasting it. But when harmful algae is about to be discharged into our estuaries and the water that carries it out to tide, I would much rather spare the residents who live along those waterbodies, as well as their delicate ecosystems, and send it deep underground. 

Mr. Perry, I firmly believe, wants to make a difference, so I ask him to put his efforts behind getting the federal government to approve and share the costs of building the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, a project that environmentalists including himself lauded and asked for when the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott created it in 2017. They asked for that part of the solution, the governor and the Legislature did their part to authorize it, and SFWMD did its part delivering a plan that meets all the goals and objectives set forward in state law. 

Let’s all lend our talents to helping get the reservoir built, as well as the immediate construction of wells to protect the estuaries. Let’s lose the soundbites and end the false narrative and all start pulling in the same direction to get real projects online.

Brandon Tucker is one of nine Governing Board members who set policy for the South Florida Water Management District. He represents an area that includes St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.


Shameful. Idea, article, SWFMD board member appointed by a crooked azzed carpetbagger. Shameful and ignorant to try and discredit Mark Perry.

Emergency Estuary Protection Wells would pump freshwater into the Boulder Zone (not the Florida Aquifer). In effect these wells send water to tide by sending it straight down. The water eventually makes it way to the ocean miles offshore. It's freshwater, so any algae in the water that survived the lack of sunlight would not survive the salinity of the ocean. The algae in the freshwater does not live in salt water. This is an emergency measure that could provide relief to the coastal estuaries within two years, instead of waiting 10-20 years for the rest of CERP to be completed. The wells are not a long term fix, but a way to prevent the freshwater bombing of the estuaries while the other projects are under construction. The wells could also help save the Lake Okeechobee marshes which are endangered if the lake rises above 15 ft. These marshes are among the most productive and important wetlands in the whole Everglades system. I would think coastal residents would embrace something that could save them from lake releases. Have the coastal media even told the coastal residents who are protesting the lake releases about this option?

Eco Sciences, LLC and Solarorganite Division can help with Home Toilet and with the New Septic Waste Elimination Process and SAVE Homeowners money and Protects our Environment. The newly patented SolarOrganite® process will eliminates septic tank waste from toilets and septic tanks. The process is fueled only by the sun using the SolarOrganite® Process. The Waste Elimination Process will provide people on septic tanks here in Florida and the USA with a safe, sustainable and sanitary method for getting rid of their toilet waste and septic sludge that is polluting our land, lakes, springs, rivers and all other water sources With this new SolarOrganite® Process, only sunlight is used to totally sterilized, pasteurized and totally dry the septic waste into a healthy and safe material that meets all State and US EPA 503 Requirements. This new patented processing has the capability of heating human toilet and septic waste to a high enough temperature using the SolarOrganite® Process in an enclosed chamber to pasteurize and sterilize human waste. The device is a next-generation toilet septic tank waste treatment process using only solar energy that can be used to disinfect toilet, septic liquid and solid waste while generating useful and environmentally safe end products. The heat energy generated by the sun with SolarOrganite® Chamber to fully dry pasteurization-sterilization. The fully dried, pasteurized-sterilized end product will be reduces by 99.9%-100%. There is NO water or polluted water discharge to protect land, lakes, springs, rivers and all other water sources. 352-358-1222

Mr. Tucker is not a scientist and appears to have taken the lastest fad based on an idea that he has found to be a "quick fix". But like most fads, there is a consequence, use of deep well injection cannot hold the water in place due to the geology of Florida which is limestone and the significant fractures that carries water many miles from an injection point. The polluted water that Mr. Tucker espouses to inject under ground has been shown in this study to end up far away and in some instances introduces algae along our Coral Reefs damaging them. For further information see: Journal of Geography and Geology; Vol. 6, No. 4; 2014 ISSN 1916-9779 E-ISSN 1916-9787 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 164 Benthic Macroalgal Blooms as Indicators of Nutrient Loading from Aquifer-Injected Sewage Effluent in Environmentally Sensitive Near-Shore Waters Associated with the South Florida Keys Sydney T. Bacchus1, Sergio Bernardes1, Thomas Jordan1 & Marguerite Madden1 1 Center for Geospatial Research, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2502 USA Correspondence: Marguerite Madden, Center for Geospatial Research, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2502, USA. E-mail: Received: September 12, 2014 Accepted: September 25, 2014 Online Published: November 24, 2014

You must not have read this journal article. The authors do not conclude that Class I deep injection wells are causing or contributing to algae blooms in the Florida Keys. Please be responsible. The article's only conclusion is related to monitoring.

As so called fiscal conservatives why are we doing any of this costly fiasco?...………. The smart, low cost easy way to turn the whole water system back clear, clean is simple, stop those who pollute it!!……………..It is illegal to pollute the water so just enforce the law!!…………… But repubs, Nancy, etc are bought and paid for by big sugar, Ag and developers. ……………... And we get the shaft, polluted water and the huge cost of it's damage and cleaning it up...………...Yet Repubs never say this, why?...…………. And Nancy's home town will become a putrid mess again soon, driving their tourist, even residents away...……... Good job republicans!! We are so proud of you!

We ....including you know that when “Walking” Lawton was in office , he had his hand in the til ....this goes way back before Florida was a “red” state. It’s a shame that your agenda blinds you so you just see what you wish to see....

Like it’s all Repub’s fault?! Hilarious

This man should not be on a water board. He seems to be actively trying to pollute the groundwater.

Deep wells, 200 ft do not contaminate your drinking water! Scientific studies have shown that contaminates are stoped within 30 meters, 100 ft of the source because of the filtering aspects of lime rock. Tap water usually comes from 1400 ft . Fish kills, spoilage of the environment is much more of a problem than tap water contamination.

really, then why don't you name which "independent" scientific studies you are talking about because the Army Corp of Engineers have indicated it is not safe to the same standards; How many aquifer-fed surface water springs have you seen in FL? I have seen hundreds. Tap water contamination or treatment by-products are exactly the things that could lead to fish kills and environmental spoilage. We are talking high prescription drug levels, phosphate levels 100 times safe levels, nitrogen, benzene, and many others... You need to educate yourself Sir, or at least talk to someone who knows...

Clueless! . . . . . . . . . non-scientists, non-hydrogeologists who don't know what they're writing about, shouldn't state easily disproved "facts" . . . . . . . . . . . . go talk to a SFWMD hydrogeologist about our various aquifer systems, then return to view your statements in shame . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

well said . thank you .

Some of these things could be good ideas. However, you should more clearly specify what exactly you are talking about. If you are talking about "toilet to tap" as far as deep water injection wells to protect your estuaries, that is an entirely different thing than say surface runoff, but maybe not much considering all of the chemicals you are talking about in runoff. Remember, anything that gets pumped underground into the Florida Aquifer will eventually end up in tap water. Remember also, that treated wastewater and surface runoff are not tested to the standards that drinking water is, so when you say it is safe, please say to what standards it is safe. These chemicals, high levels of other contaminants that are acceptable for runoff and treated wastewater are not acceptable, nor desirable for drinking or tap water. You have to remember if you pump garbage into the aquifer, it is only a matter of time before it ends up in our drinking and tap water. Us crackers do not want garbage in our drinking water just so you can have nice, clear, algae free estuaries. The trade off is not even close to being a fair or safe one for our generations of families here in Florida. Words matter...

Excellent advice.

Comments are now closed.



Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.