While our County Commissioners are to be thanked for generally taking action to protect the environment, such as the temporary ban on the use of biosolids on agricultural land, the Commission is scheduled to vote April 23rd at 9:00 AM on a motion which will actually take us backward in our fight to save our sick and suffering Indian River Lagoon.
The problem with the Lagoon’s health is an expanding population on its shores. However, the Lagoon has limited and fixed water purging with the Atlantic Ocean. As more bad stuff goes in, NATURE’S relief valve does not change.
Whether it is septic tanks, agricultural run-off, or urban stormwater run-off from our streets and urban homes, more people mean we need ever-increasing remediation. Perhaps we are now holding our own but at a very low level of Lagoon health. Now a proposal is being made to the County Commission which represents a huge step backward.
Reuse water, coming out of the County sewer plants, is an important resource for golf courses and lawns on the northern part of the barrier island. The County has more re-use water to provide, and the County has two existing greatly under-utilized pipes strapped onto the Wabasso bridge to provide this re-use water. The County could easily, and at relatively modest expense, extend the missing distribution pipes up and down A1A to where the water is needed. There would be no threat to the Lagoon.
But John’s Island Water Management Inc. wants to drill a multi-million-dollar mile-long pipe, 80 feet under our Lagoon, that is not needed. Perhaps this is so they can be the first in line to receive the water as it comes onto the barrier island.
Here is the real catch! Drilling under the Lagoon provides a huge risk of “frac-out” where the drilling fluids can leak into the Lagoon and smother the Lagoon’s marine life. Is it worth the risk to spend extra money to go under the Lagoon when pipes up and down A1A to provide all the water that is needed and cost a mere fraction of this expensive and dangerous drilling?
Beyond the construction risk, once a pipe exists under the Lagoon and a leak occurs, there is no way to fix it. The existing pipes over the Wabasso bridge can be fixed. Re-use water is extremely harmful to the Lagoon because it contains anything the sewer treatment process does not remove, including chemicals and human drugs put down your drain. Even worse, it contains high levels of nutrients that algae live on.
We must praise our Commissioners for the many positive steps they have taken; including, but not limited to, purifying the brine from water treatment in filtering marshes, and protecting the critical Oslo area fish “rookery.”
But now is not the time to step backward for no reason, except to let a powerful group benefit from an ill-advised pipe under the Lagoon.
If you love the Lagoon and all the benefits it brings to our Paradise, please SIGN the petition and attend the April 23rdCommission meeting.
Please click the link and sign the petition to stop the Lagoon wastewater effluent pipeline. Tell your friends, too!