Deep-water injection is needed for the Lower Keys sewers

July 2, 2014 

There are two kinds of wells to get rid of treated wastewater, shallow and deep.


Last Stand is strongly opposed to disposal of treated sewage into shallow wells at the as yet unfinished Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In letters to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and each Monroe County commissioner, the Keyswide environmental group cited state regulations, insufficient treatment and danger to sea life as reasons why the plant should be required to pump its waste 2,500-3,000 feet below the surface into the Boulder Zone.

Florida Administrative Code sets tough maximum standards for nitrogen and phosphorus that will not be met by the Cudjoe plant. This is a very strict, special rule for Florida outstanding waters like the Florida Keys, and FKAA's published numbers are far above the limits the law imposes.

Last Stand will help any way we can to encourage county commissioners to find the $6 million to $8 million needed for the deep well. Taxpayers voted to pay an extra one-cent infrastructure sales tax for exactly this kind of expenditure and now is the time to do it, before the plant even begins to treat sewage.

The deep-well technology is required, and if the Cudjoe plant is allowed to go into operation sometime in early 2015 using only shallow wells, the cost for a deep well would be even greater when the estimated 10,000 residential units are finally hooked up and the million-gallon-a-day threshold is surpassed.

We strongly support the Dig Deep Cudjoe coalition, formed specifically to ensure that Lower Keys wastewater will go deep and not into our nearshore waters. If enough of us contact our county commissioners and the FKAA, we can all work together to accomplish the right thing for the environment.

Deep-well injection systems are already in place in Key West and Key Largo, while smaller shallow-injection well plants operate on Stock Island, Marathon and at some businesses and private residences.

Naja Girard, president

Last Stand, Key West

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