Jump to content

Recommended Posts

17 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Leakage from Fat Point's injection wells on Bermont Road?

An interesting guess. Could be lots of things, including just some settling in this particular hole that isn't related to anything else around me.

However, there's a new dirt mine across the street. My neighbor informed me that he and his band of enviroweenies got the permit rejected because it went too deep, too close to some boundary layer (he knows about this stuff). But after some bureaucratic wrangling, the permit was approved and I've been seeing trucks for a couple of weeks. The dirt mine is owned by, of course, other neighbors.

So maybe someone went too deep over there and it took a week or two to seep over here?

Ponds like mine are not very common but there are others around. Including one owned by... the dirt mine owner. I'm going to go have a look at his pond and talk to him about this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/21/2016 at 8:33 AM, dogballs Tom said:

Cool picture.   Trivia for the day.    There is a (somewhat) restored swamp called the limberlost that connected the Maumee watershed (Lake Erie by Toledo) and the Indiana river network that eventually drains into the Mississippi.   It was said that during rainy season a person could canoe from one to the other.    That network and geographical area was the playground of a rather free thinking cider apple peddler known as John Chapman.    School kids call him Johnny Appleseed.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

This weekend's PaddleFest at Englewood Beach is cancelled due to Red Tide.  If it stinks next weekend I wonder how many will show up for the motorboat race.  Maybe the props will further stir up the water and make it stink more.

Tom, the reuse is a good idea, but it is the second step.  You need to collect and transport it to the reuse plant.  That costs the property owners to pay for their new sewer system.  And many don't think they are contributing to the problem.  A fellow over in El Jobean says that his 40 year old septic tank 20 feet from a canal that connects to the Myakka does not have any effect on water quality.

It is going to cost a lot of money to fix this and we voted in people that most likely not want raise the revenue (TAX). 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Fat Point Jack said:

A fellow over in El Jobean says that his 40 year old septic tank 20 feet from a canal that connects to the Myakka does not have any effect on water quality.

There's a reason they won't let you put one that close any more.

He may want to keep it but they don't last forever and you can't put another one, so... at some point the property becomes worthless as residential property or another answer is found. Speaking of things that are expensive, when your waterfront residence becomes worthless, that's expensive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, dogballs Tom said:

There's a reason they won't let you put one that close any more.

He may want to keep it but they don't last forever and you can't put another one, so... at some point the property becomes worthless as residential property or another answer is found. Speaking of things that are expensive, when your waterfront residence becomes worthless, that's expensive.

It's not "worthless" to the birds and the bees. It's simly of less value to residents, and capitalists.

Does this thread need race-baiting, or the spamming of Justice Taney?

IMG_0637.JPG

The logs in the foreground went missing in 2015, and I never found them, seriously. Some salmon here measure 33". The water in July is teaming with smelt, salmon-shaped and the size of a pencil lead. I find coal in the creek. I placed sixty buckets of 3" rock in one spot, they are gone. Kids gather a few rocks, and they smell strongly of fish. I get between one and three waterfalls, depending. It's noisy and other than peaceful in the winter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Trees wind up in funny places. Hurricane Irma put this tree up in a tree just up the creek from our place.

TreeInTree.jpg

I found the neighbor boy's story of driving his skiff up over the dam a bit hard to believe until I saw this. The dam is just around the corner and is only a few feet high.

Anyway, the Miami Herald wrote about the new Florida Crystals lease

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 1:24 PM, dogballs Tom said:

There's a reason they won't let you put one that close any more.

He may want to keep it but they don't last forever and you can't put another one, so... at some point the property becomes worthless as residential property or another answer is found. Speaking of things that are expensive, when your waterfront residence becomes worthless, that's expensive.

Here's what we are up against to help clean up the WOTUS.  The county had a hearing on the EL Jobean septic/sewer conversion.  It brought out the usual suspects.

Per the Sun Herald:

"The Rev. Bob Mc Duffie blamed fake science and political correctness for the mandate to eliminate septic systems.  He lives in the parsonage of the First Baptist Church in El Jobean".

"Why are you doing this? Because the federal government wants us to do it," Mc Duffie said.  "I could care less what the federal government wants us to do."

"In America-our form of government-you have to have consent.  You clearly do not have the consent of the people for this project," said David Kesselring.

These guys make you, Tom, look like a moderate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I know. Betsy, who wrote that article, is a tenant of mine. BTW, the extremists are right about the municipal system, which is just about done in the neighborhood where she lives. "But it's old and we neglected it" isn't any better of an excuse for governments than private owners IMO.

My political life really began with environmentalism and it hasn't gone away.

$575/yr for 20 years plus usage fee doesn't seem crazy to keep a low-end waterfront property. If I had a place there with an aging septic system, I'd jump at the opportunity instead of protesting it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Manatees Having A Bad Year
 

Quote

 

With six weeks left in 2018, Florida already has tied last year's record 107 manatee deaths by boat, putting the Sunshine State on a dark course for the third consecutive record-setting year for watercraft-related fatalities.

But deaths by all causes show a dire year for sea cows, with red tide and boats among the top known killers.

According to preliminary statistics through Nov. 9, at least 741 manatees have died so far this year in Florida, the highest number in the past five years, and 262 more deaths than the 5-year average up to this point of the year.

 

We see them all the time in the creek, where I also see a heck of a lot more boat traffic than when I moved here in the 90's. I accounted for about half of the boat traffic back then.

It's a "no wake" zone above the RR bridge. Nobody pays attention and there's seldom enforcement. This is one of the areas where that will have to change as the population grows.

The article doesn't say where they're being hit most.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/24/2016 at 3:56 AM, Snore said:

Raz'r- they could fix it quicker if the residents want to fund the $1.5 bil quicker. The issue is, as I first posted, money. Done right those cities should have been lining the old clay mains for the past 20 years. FYI clay mains if undistrubed look perfect after 60 years. Instead of lining the mains, they chose to allow the pipes to leak into the soils. This avoided the expense of lining, kept rates down and anti-Gov people happy. Now those same anti-Gov people are saying "look at this mess you should be fixing these pipes."

This is sort of the same argument we're having now over the gas tax and the condition of the roads in CA... Some think like you noted they purposely let it go so they can impose a new tax to absorb the cost and divert the current tax revenue that was suppose to fund these improvements for other shit....  I don't think this is a problem with the anti government types and keeping the cost down.; I think it is a combination of incompetence with the governments management of the money already collected for Municipal Capitol Management programs and bought and paid for politicians...

They have been in litigation since 2009, probably knew they were probably going to lose, and they still have done nothing..... except spend money on lawyers.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/24/2016 at 6:56 AM, Snore said:

PJ I think we agree on most of this. Septic is a solution for undeveloped areas of FLA. But as those remaining areas of Charlotte County and elsewhere buildout, they need municipal sewers and reuse systems to manage the water supply.

 

Raz'r- they could fix it quicker if the residents want to fund the $1.5 bil quicker. The issue is, as I first posted, money. Done right those cities should have been lining the old clay mains for the past 20 years. FYI clay mains if undistrubed look perfect after 60 years. Instead of lining the mains, they chose to allow the pipes to leak into the soils. This avoided the expense of lining, kept rates down and anti-Gov people happy. Now those same anti-Gov people are saying "look at this mess you should be fixing these pipes."

 

IMHO the core problem is a lack of guts for not asking for the money years ago.

 

 

FWIW I was able to show that by increasing funding to rehab sewer mains, the utility could pay back the investment in 3-5 years. The reduced operating expenses that were experienced were ported to the R&R budget to fund more rehabs. Just need to do thing intelligently. YMMV based on the skills of management.

I think the political calculation is a bit different in the neighborhood I mentioned above where the newspaper reporter lives.

People know it's going to be expensive, necessary, and a big mess to replace the 50 year old system. But this is God's Waiting Room. One option on the table is to die before it's your problem.

A 3-5 year payback time sounds optimistic and sooner than is needed anyway. But it might be possible in that neighborhood. During the wet season, there's a septic truck by the church at the end of Beverly St 24/7 pumping the shit out of the storm water drains, with another waiting to do it next. That can't be cheap.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/16/2018 at 5:54 AM, dogballs Tom said:

 

People know it's going to be expensive, necessary, and a big mess to replace the 50 year old system. 

 

Sorry- out sailing  so I could not respond faster  

 

To be clear YOU DO NOT REPLACE THE PIPES. It is not messy.  I did this for a living and assure you it can be done and it will pay for itself, without vodoo accounting  

Just requires rates that fund renewal of gravity mains and replacement of water mains.  If you really auger in, failure to maintain the system is probably violating bond covenants. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Snore said:

To be clear YOU DO NOT REPLACE THE PIPES. It is not messy.  I did this for a living and assure you it can be done and it will pay for itself, without vodoo accounting  

I have a couple of rental properties with 50+ year old iron pipes under the concrete slab and am VERY interested in a non-replacement, non-messy option.

In some cases, I'm told, they can "blow a liner into the pipe"  and extend its life for a while. "But not in your case, Mr. Ray" I'm also told. In my case, I'm told, you wreck the tiles, wreck the floor, replace iron with plastic, and rebuild.

The crumbled pipe that results in 24 hour a day pumping was concrete back in the day. Now it's kinda rubble. If you don't replace that, what do you do?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2018 at 6:21 AM, dogballs Tom said:

FPL wins right to store radioactive waste under Florida's drinking water

A bit of an alarmist headline. Deep well injection of waste has been a disposal practice in Florida for decades. There are briny layers way down there and putting something in them is said to be "getting rid of it forever."

Forever is a long time.

Another way to phrase it would be:

FPL wins right to store radioactive waste IN Florida's drinking water.

The Florida Aquifer is large and complex but I don't think you can really say any one part is "forever" isolated from the rest.

For one thing, people have poked holes through the layers. And they sometimes just develop holes all by themselves. The spring that feeds my pond is one or the other of those and is considered a minor ecological disaster. One of many. See pg 167 of this report for a map of most of the known ones.

https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/boards-committees/pz/Site Documents/5_PA121014LS_Application_Attachment2_GroundwaterBasinResource.pdf

Wells/Springs like mine allow the layers to mix. I'm told the source is part of the Hawthorn formation, well above the deep well disposal layers.

Forever separated from them? I dunno...

I went looking for that report today to show to a friend and it seems the link is broken. So I put it here where I can find it again and extracted the image.

CCArtesianWells.jpg

I'm sure it's not exactly accurate enough to be used for navigation but those little triangles look to me like someone knows about two plugged wells in our neighborhood. I know about one of them, the one we used to use as a shower when I was a kid.

The other, if known, would solve a bit of a mystery. My father found very old records indicating five wells were drilled on this property. At the time, we knew about three. The pond spring is most likely the fourth. The fifth has never been found, at least not by us. But someone might know where it was.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a solar-powered fountain pump to aerate the pond water a bit. Testing it out yesterday.

FountainTest.jpg

A pretty impressive stream! Now I need to figure out a better panel mount than a lounge chair and a better way to hold the pump than a piece of string.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2018 at 2:48 AM, dogballs Tom said:

I have a couple of rental properties with 50+ year old iron pipes under the concrete slab and am VERY interested in a non-replacement, non-messy option.

In some cases, I'm told, they can "blow a liner into the pipe"  and extend its life for a while. "But not in your case, Mr. Ray" I'm also told. In my case, I'm told, you wreck the tiles, wreck the floor, replace iron with plastic, and rebuild.

The crumbled pipe that results in 24 hour a day pumping was concrete back in the day. Now it's kinda rubble. If you don't replace that, what do you do?

Lining an 8”gravity sewer main that runs 2-300’ between manholes is very different than the 4-6” pipes in your home.  Both in diameter and straightness.  

I do not want to comment on lining domestic plumbing, I simply don’t have the background.  Living in a 93 year old building, I can say that the sewer pipes are good, just issues with some joints.  The galvanized water lines are scheduled to be replaced.

 

feel free to message me.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Snore said:
On 11/18/2018 at 2:48 AM, dogballs Tom said:

The crumbled pipe that results in 24 hour a day pumping was concrete back in the day. Now it's kinda rubble. If you don't replace that, what do you do?

Lining an 8”gravity sewer main that runs 2-300’ between manholes is very different than the 4-6” pipes in your home.  Both in diameter and straightness.

Yes, but lining rubble must be an order of magnitude more complicated, right?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprisingly, when a 1 foot or less section of vitrified clay pipe (VCP) fails, there is still a tube shaped hole in the ground.  The sock goes from pipe to pipe spanning the void.  When it hardens it is as hard as VCP and can take the traffic load no issues.  Keep in mind this is usually 6-10 feet below grade.

 

If caught before the soils collapse, you can span longer runs of missing pipe.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Snore said:

Surprisingly, when a 1 foot or less section of vitrified clay pipe (VCP) fails, there is still a tube shaped hole in the ground.  The sock goes from pipe to pipe spanning the void.  When it hardens it is as hard as VCP and can take the traffic load no issues.  Keep in mind this is usually 6-10 feet below grade.

 

If caught before the soils collapse, you can span longer runs of missing pipe.

A large part of Oak Bay (the richest part of town) apparently has sewer lines that started out as concrete, and now are nothing, just a network of sandy tunnels in the ground. That's going to be a huge infrastructure cost in the near future.

Our own no-corrode sewer line was mashed flat by a subsequent installation of storm drains, the contractor pulled 200' of continuous PVC through the remains to give us seamless connection to the main sewer line. Not cheap, but way better than trenching 200' of asphalt driveway.

Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

A large part of Oak Bay (the richest part of town) apparently has sewer lines that started out as concrete, and now are nothing, just a network of sandy tunnels in the ground. That's going to be a huge infrastructure cost in the near future.

Our own no-corrode sewer line was mashed flat by a subsequent installation of storm drains, the contractor pulled 200' of continuous PVC through the remains to give us seamless connection to the main sewer line. Not cheap, but way better than trenching 200' of asphalt driveway.

It has been 3 years since I retired. But it would seem that a directional bore guy could follow the existing line, it would be easy pull.  Butt fused PVC or HDPE. 

 

The longer “they” wait the harde to replace and the more they spill

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Snore said:

It has been 3 years since I retired. But it would seem that a directional bore guy could follow the existing line, it would be easy pull.  Butt fused PVC or HDPE. 

 

The longer “they” wait the harde to replace and the more they spill

My mind is going. It was fused HDPE, not PVC. It was interesting watching them weld the pipes together before pulling, the result snaked halfway down the block. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A more permanent fountain installation:

FountainMounted.jpg

I've noticed something that puzzles me. The panel is wired directly to the motor. The slightest shadow reduces the flow a lot but the angle of the sun seems to matter not at all.

Full sun on the panel produces the same flow, at least to my eye, whether it's the first moment of full sun at an angle or the midday sun.

So all those contraptions on boats to angle the panels make less sense to me now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Trump Ends The World Again
 

Quote

 

...

In 2015, trying to respond to one such Supreme Court ruling, the Obama administration proposed expanding the definition of which wetlands and streams were protected to include streams where water runs only during or after rainfall, and wetlands that were not adjacent to major bodies of water. The Obama-era rules also protected wetlands that were only connected to waterways via an underground connection such as the Floridan aquifer.

But the change was politically unpopular with farmers and developers — including one who lives part-time in Florida. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to roll back that rule, calling it "one of the worst examples of federal regulation."

 

Which he did:
 

Quote

 

The new rule, unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says that the only wetlands that will be federally protected are those immediately adjacent to a major body of water, or ones that are connected to such a waterway by surface water. 

Acting Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler called the change a way to make wetland regulations “simpler and clearer” for landowners. The proposed new rule was hailed by such national groups as home builders, golf course developers and farmers — all of whom tend to regard wetlands not as a boon but as a bane, something that gets in the way of their plans.

 

I think that attitude isn't about swamps so much as wetlands. Most everyone agrees on protecting the swamps. But "wetlands" is a label applied to land that's wet when it's raining to "protect" it. Meaning: dictate the use of it to the owner for an obviously fake reason. Places that are wet "during and after rain" aren't swamps.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

Red Tide Is Back

It's supposed to go away. At some point. It really hasn't since October 2017 so saying it's "back" is not quite right.
 

Quote

 

A cold snap coming in the middle of the week could help snap red tide.

SNN-TV meteorologist Dan Henry says lows in the 40s on Wednesday and Thursday could be some of the coolest days of winter.

“That could help lower the Gulf temperature,” Henry said. There is a 30 percent chance of rain on Wednesday, and unlike the previous two low-pressure systems, heavy rain is not anticipated.

 

When the coldest front of January comes, it comes with a wall of rain in front of it and temperatures in the 30's or sometimes 20's behind it.

The forecast high is 80 today and although it's a little hot in my truck, I'm not really complaining. I hate the cold. But what's headed our way isn't what I expect in mid-January. The ten day forecast reaches out to the next one, which is supposed to have a little rain and bring the low to 42 here. That's not a January cold front either. And we're running out of January.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Water From Air And Power From Trash
 

Quote

 

Jim Mason was first profiled in Reason in 2008 when his early attempts at homemade power generation ran afoul of regulators in his hometown of Berkeley, California. He fought through and created a business, All Power Labs, which turns trash into fuel.

In October, Mason and his crew were a core part of the Skysource/Skywater Alliance team that won a $1.5 million Water Abundance XPrize. Their gasification-powered prototype, called the WEDEW Watertainer, heats wood chips in a low-oxygen environment to generate gas that can be used to power an engine, providing the energy to extract at least 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere at a cost of less than 2 cents per liter. This technology has the ability to produce cheap, drinkable water in areas far from modern plumbing or places where disaster has cut off normal water supplies—and to do it with a negative carbon footprint. Senior Editor Brian Doherty talked with Mason about the project in November.

 

cliffsignal.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2018 at 6:18 PM, Contumacious Tom said:

Yes, I know. Betsy, who wrote that article, is a tenant of mine. BTW, the extremists are right about the municipal system, which is just about done in the neighborhood where she lives. "But it's old and we neglected it" isn't any better of an excuse for governments than private owners IMO.

My political life really began with environmentalism and it hasn't gone away.

$575/yr for 20 years plus usage fee doesn't seem crazy to keep a low-end waterfront property. If I had a place there with an aging septic system, I'd jump at the opportunity instead of protesting it.

Agree

With the caveat that it would be even better is said sewerage system was built to keep rain run-off seperate and not overflow as often as most of them do. Shucks, as a waterfront property owner, I'd even pay higher taxes for the sake of such a thing.

-DSK

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Various WOTUS Wars Developments
 

Quote

 

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed rule to redefine the meaning of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act in the Federal Register.

...

While the Trump Administration's WOTUS rewrite won't reach the courts for awhile, other WOTUS-related litigation continues, including legal challenges to the Obama Administation's WOTUS rule and the Trump Administration's attempt to suspend the Obama WOTUS rule pending the rewrite. Both the Obama definition and the Trump suspension have faced some trouble in court, and litigation is ongoing.

This morning, another front in the WOTUS wars opened as the Supreme Court accepted a petition for certiorari in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, which presents the question whether the CWA requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater. The Maui case is one of several cases raising the broader issue of whether the CWA may reach pollution that travels through groundwater - effectively treating the groundwater as a "conduit" for covered point-source pollution.

 

Groundwater is absolutely such a conduit. That's why things like my septic system have to be a certain distance from the swamp, and why it's a problem that old, deteriorating ones are pretty much sitting on most of our shorelines.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

The Supreme Court gets asked some funny questions at times.

For example: Are Rivers Land?
 

Quote

 

The case began all the way back in 2007, when Sturgeon was stopped by National Park Service rangers as he was traveling along the Nation River within the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. He was heading towards a moose hunting ground outside the preserve, but was told by the rangers that he was not allowed to travel via hovercraft on waterways within national park lands.

At the crux of Sturgeon's lawsuit, effectively, was the argument that rivers are not land—and that the National Park Service's regulatory authority over land therefore does not extend to rivers and other waterways. Complicating matters was a 1980 law called the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which gave the federal government authority over large swaths of public land in Alaska.

But that law did not clearly indicate that federal authority over public lands included waterways, which Sturgeon's lawyers argued was a federal loophole meant to keep Alaskan rivers and waterways under state control. Since a large amount of transportation and commerce depends on rivers in Alaska—and since so many of those rivers lie within federal lands (the federal government owns 61 percent of the state)—allowing the Park Service to regulate rivers would be an effective federal takeover of transportation in much of the state.

There were two questions the Supreme Court had to answer, Kagan wrote in the unanimous opinion. First, does the Nation River qualify as public land for the purposes of ANILCA? Second, does the Park Service have authority to regulate Sturgeon's activities on the river within the Yukon-Charley reserve?

"Today, we take up those questions, and answer both 'no,'" wrote Kagan.

 

Hovercraft are cool but they're also what an engineer would come up with if given the assignment: Design a vehicle that's more annoying than a jetski.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Alico Activities

 

Quote

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, sitting as the board of trustees for the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, voted unanimously Tuesday to acquire the land in Hendry County. 

The Internal Improvement Trust Fund holds title to all state-owned lands in Florida.

The state will purchase 5,534 acres from Fort Myers-based Alico Inc. — 3,233 acres of uplands and 2,301 acres of wetlands.

The purchase price is $14,775,000 — or more than 92 percent of the highest estimated value of the property in two private appraisals.

One appraisal came in at $15.5 million, the other at more than $16 million.

 

About $5k per acre if you count the swamp as worth nothing. Doesn't seem crazy.

That was the top story in the article but the other seems to involve more land, more money, and more consequential issues.
 

Quote

 

Alico is still working to obtain federal and local approvals for its dispersed water management project on nearby land in Hendry County.

In September the South Florida Water Management District approved a permit for the controversial project, which would create a more than 35,000-acre water farm that's expected to cost taxpayers $124 million over 11 years.

The project is designed to stop water in the Caloosahatchee River from polluting the estuary near Fort Myers and to combat toxic algae blooms, but some say it is more expensive than other similar water farms and takes the burden of cleaning up agricultural runoff off polluters and puts it on taxpayers.

"Our project is the largest dispersed water management project in the state and can retain 30 billion gallons of water annually," Kiernan said. "We are working to obtain approvals as quickly as possible to complete the project and help improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee estuary." 

Alico is a publicly traded agribusiness and land manager. The company primarily operates two divisions: Alico Citrus, one of the nation’s largest citrus producers, and Alico Water Resources and other operations, a leading water storage and environmental services division.

 

I'd look a little further upstream to reduce pollution in the Caloosahatchee: end the protective sugar tariff.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

USF Researchers Blame Gordon For Red Tide
 

Quote

 

The report states Tropical Storm Gordon, which churned the Gulf of Mexico in September of last year, played a major factor in helping red tide spread from the Florida panhandle all the way to Palm Beach County on the east coast.

Robert Weisberg, USF professor of physical oceanography, told the Bradenton Herald on Thursday the findings dispel “the myth that land-based fertilizers are to blame.”

However, Weisberg acknowledged pollutants may play a role in exasperating red tide conditions, but, “they are not the root cause. Of course, we don’t want to be polluting our waters but to blame red tide on land-based runoff is a stretch. But we don’t really even know that for sure, but we do know it doesn’t cause red tide.

“Now, what’s coming out of the Caloosahatchee River is a completely different problem. It’s not a red tide algae, but I’m not downplaying the need to be good environmental stewards.”

 

 

"Hatchee" comes from a native word for "river" which is why we have so many. It's the Caloosariver River.

But I do sometimes wonder what the native word for "sewer" was...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
8 hours ago, badlatitude said:

Interesting.

"Blue-green algae are laden with microcystins that are a cause of non-alcoholic liver cancer. The algae blooms also produce BMAA (β-Methylamino-L-alanine), a toxin that is linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s. Last year, Drs. Paul Cox and James Metcalf of Brain Chemistry Labs reported that microcystin levels in samples from Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie canal were 300 times the level recommended as safe by the United Nations. BMAA is a documented cause of Alzheimer’s and ALS. The University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank reported that the BMAA toxin is found in the brains of people with neuro-degenerative diseases. 

Dr. David Davis, a neuropathologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, reported that monkeys fed BMAA developed early symptoms of ALS. Another study, from 2017, documented that monkeys given BMAA developed the amyloid plaque and “tau tangles” that are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Last month, Dr. Davis’ team reported that detectable levels of the BMAA toxin were found in the brains of dead dolphins that displayed degenerative damage similar to Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s in humans. 

High concentrations of BMAA have been found in the seafood in South Florida waters where blue-green algae blooms occur. Ingestion of BMAA contaminated food is known to lead to Alzheimer’s and ALS. 

Toxins in blue-green algae are airborne: Dr. Elijah Stommel of Dartmouth reported that people living near bodies of water with heavy blue-green algae blooms had a 15 times greater chance of getting ALS. Research by Prof. Mike Parsons, a Florida Gulf Coast University marine biologist, found airborne cyanobacteria toxins a mile from retention ponds and three miles from the Caloosahatchee River. A study of air filters near bodies of water infected with blue-green algae along the Caloosahatchee River taken during the heavy blooms in 2018 by Dr. Larry Brand of the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric and Marine Science is expected soon. 

It is not alarmist to say that the people of Florida — especially people who come in contact with the infested waters or breathe the air nearby, and perhaps all of us who consume the fish and shrimp from Florida waters — are being slowly poisoned. Liver cancer, Alzheimer’s and ALS are terminal diseases; the toxins in blue-green algae kill people." 

EDIT 

https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article229490279.html?sfns=mo

I beg to differ with your assessment that the Waters of the United States do not have and deserve a thread here.

That said, interesting info for this thread, so thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Levi's found a way to make hemp feel like cotton, and it could have big implications for your wardrobe

And your water table.

Quote

In March, Levi's debuted a collaboration with the Outerknown label that includes a pair of jeans and jacket made from a 69%-cotton/31%-hemp blend that feels like pure cotton.

Hmmm... I think I might have already achieved that ratio some years ago. But that's another thread.

Quote

 

Dillinger said that the need for cotton alternatives became apparent when looking at the growth trajectory of cotton demand compared to access to fresh water required for its cultivation and processing. Since he was familiar with the nature of hemp, he did not expect to find a solution there... until Levi's discovered cutting-edge research in Europe, where industrial hemp was already legal in many countries. Levi's would not reveal its partners or details of its breakthroughs, except to say that it had a market-ready material after three years.

When Levi's finds a way to make 100% cottonized-hemp clothing, "We're going to go from a garment that goes from 3,781 L of fresh water, 2,655 of that in just the fiber cultivation," Dillinger said, drawing from data collected by the Stockholm Environmental Institute. "We take out more than 2/3 of the total water impact to the garment. That's saving a lot."

 

That is pretty remarkable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Bay scallops scarce in local waterways during annual search

5d4f1090331e6.image.jpg

That picture is presented with the caption:

Quote

Robert Harstad of Englewood writes down data Saturday during the Great Bay Scallop And Hard Clam Search at Cape Haze Marina

Which is funny because that's a picture of me and she asked me my name just after she took it.

It's OK, I was writing down screen shots of my phone's compass app, the easiest way I had aboard to record our lat/long, and I think I screwed one up too.

I haven't heard how everyone else did, but we searched four locations and only found one scallop shell and no live scallops at all. We did find a few hard clams. Visibility was less than the length of my arm and it was raining with occasional lighning the whole morning. In the last two locations we searched, the only living things seemed to be little critters that were stinging me.

Still beat being ashore.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking to oneself is a principal sign of the onset of Alzheimers.

 

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options

You've chosen to ignore content by Repastinate Tom. Options
Link to post
Share on other sites

Got an email from our fearless leader.
 

Quote

 

A Message from Florida Sea Grant - UF/IFAS Extension:

Hi Everyone! I trust everyone has dried out from Saturday's event. First, thank you for coming out and making the attempt to do this year's survey. The weather unfortunately was not conducive to our needs but we did get some data. 

We had 13 teams that were able to get at least one sight surveyed and of those 13, four teams were able to complete all 4 surveys. 

At the end of the day, no scallops were found and 15 hard clams were found. Although we were not able to document any scallops on Saturday, the Aquatic Preserves staff have found 2 doing seagrass surveys for their own projects...so there are at least a couple out there. Clams were documented by 6 teams which is great!

If I can get out this week, I am going to survey some of the grids that didn't get done. Several of you offered to go back out as well. If you are interested, let me know and I will get email grids and datasheets. I could still accept data thru the end of the month to be compiled with this year's results. 

I have to say this annual search is one of my favorite events because of your enthusiasm and support. I am sorry it took longer to email you the results than normal. I took a little r and r time after the event :-)

Thank you again for everything,

Betty

 

Hmmm... so only four boats stayed out after the lightning started and mine was one of the four. #iamfloridaman

From the article linked above:
 

Quote

 

The Great Bay Scallop Search provided a snapshot of adult bay scallop populations in the last 11 years in Charlotte County waters. This is the first year clams are added to the survey. Participants are also asked to identify and report the type of sea grass, clams and scallops that are spotted. Each team was assigned a search location. The volunteers snorkel each side of the line while pushing a one-meter PVC pole through the seagrass looking for bay scallops.

As boats came in, Staugler learned bay scallops weren’t seen in the waters before lightning and rain shut down the search. There were reports of half scallops and several clams.

“This is my first year helping,” said Englewood resident Tom Ray. “I only found a half of a scallop shell and a clot of clam shells and a couple of clams. I did the best I could but it was really tough to see out there.”

Bay scallops require good water quality during the 12 to 18 months they begin spawning late in the summer.

 

Umm... I'm really not from Englewood but I did say something like that to her. We were surveying more by feel than by sight and that's how I found the one clam I found. The guy with me was also feeling around on the bottom so I'm guessing he found them using the braille method too.

And it's really not true that we get 18 months of summer per year but it sometimes feels that way in August.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Sally, who grew up in Englewood says the scallops in Lemon Bay disappeared after the IC was dug.  Others say that they disappeared from Pine Island Sound when the Sanibel Causeway was built.  

When we do one thing, it affects others.

Both of those may be true but Betty Staugler, who has studied these issues for a long time, seems uncertain when asked about exact cause and effect relationships.

Scallops don't live long. I have no doubt that those present during ICW dredging would have been affected. But that was a long time ago and they've had plenty of chances to rebound. Why haven't they? Possibly because of all the boat wakes. I'd like to see all of Lemon Bay designated a no wake zone to test that theory. Want to go fast? Go outside. But that proposal would be about as popular as I am here, I suspect.

But it could easily be poor water quality from runoff and the one thing Betty seemed pretty sure about was that last year's red tide whacked a lot of scallops.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Army Corps of Engineers wants to change how they release water from Lake Okechobee

...

 

Quote

 

The proposed deviation would allow the Corps more flexibility during periods when harmful algae blooms (HABs) are present. The Corps could release less than LORS guidance when blooms are present, in exchange for releasing more than LORS guidance during times when blooms aren’t present. The goal is to release the same net amount of water as would have been released following LORS guidance, but to attempt to minimize risks posed when algal blooms are present.

“We are working closely with our federal, state, and tribal interests to maximize our operational flexibility,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander.  “We must still meet the Congressionally-authorized project purposes while operating to try to minimize potential health effects associated with harmful algae blooms.”

The Corps proposes to implement the following actions if conditions are met for HAB Operations:

  • Within existing flexibility, limit or suspend releases east and west from Lake Okeechobee when HABs are present and LORS guidance allows for releases.
  • Limited releases east and west to 2,000 cfs measured at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers and up to 730 cfs measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.  This would only be applicable when LORS guidance suggests releases of 450 cfs measured at Franklin and 200 cfs measured at St. Lucie.
  • Allow the flexibility to make up to maximum practicable releases south to the water conservation areas when LORS guidance does not recommend release (contingent upon conditions). 
  • Maintain this flexibility until LORS 2008 is replaced by a new water control plan (to be called LOSOM – Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual) estimated for completion in 2022. 
  • ...

 

 

They're asking for comments on the proposal. I don't know much about it but the Everglades Trust had this to say on Facebook:

 

 

Quote

 

The Army Corps is considering a proposal to give them more flexibility for dealing with harmful algae blooms by allowing them to release water from Lake O before the algae blooms appear. We like it. Sugar hates it. Go figure.

You can weigh in with your comments through August 21 by emailing Melissa.a.nasuti@usace.army.mil.

 

 

I think the problems we have as a result of big $ugar farming would go away pretty quickly if we just removed the protective tariffs that support their domestic sales (at the expense of anyone who consumes sweeteners, meaning pretty much all of us). But we've got the Tariff Raiser In Chief in the Oval Office so the opposite is more likely to happen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

forgive me, all, for bringing up really old posts, but I hadn't visited this thread in a while.

On 10/23/2018 at 9:44 AM, jocal505 said:

Um. Where's the Columbia River? Geez.

On 10/23/2018 at 7:31 PM, jocal505 said:

What kind of map did you present that it would fail to depict the Columbia River? 

 

Huh?

Orange, top left corner, really fucking big, covers most of the PNW...

Like, seriously  -  WTF?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, frenchie said:

forgive me, all, for bringing up really old posts, but I hadn't visited this thread in a while.

 

Huh?

Orange, top left corner, really fucking big, covers most of the PNW...

Like, seriously  -  WTF?

Dude, back off. I am hardly an expert on the landmarks of Brooklyn, frenchie, if you get my drift.

I have lived and worked on the banks of the Columbia. I've climbed every rock above Rock Island dam, and few can say that. The Columbia  makes a rare 90 deg. turn in my home town. The Columbia effectively dissects the state, north to south. The Columbia forms the northern borders Oregon.  At its origin, the Columbia hoops to the North, in Canada, then back to the south. At the other end, the Columbia finds the Pacific.

None of these features are depicted in that link! I stand by what I said, and you are welcome to visit the area.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

U.S. Sugar files lawsuit against Army Corps over Lake Okeechobee management

Quote

 

...

U.S. Sugar, in its press release, suggests it's aligned with environmental interests that filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps earlier this year. 

Those environmental groups, though, were asking the Army Corps to deviate from what's called the Lake Okeechobee Regulations Schedule, or LORS, which sets the 12.5- to 15.5-foot requirement.

...

Jacklyn Lopez, with the Center for Biological Diversity, said growers like U.S. Sugar have kept the Army Corps in the past from operating the lake in a way that would benefit the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and cut down on potential algal blooms. 

The rivers were artificially connected to the lake to drain the Everglades for farming and development. 

"I’m assuming they’re referring to our (lawsuit) and they say they’re aligned with us and our concerns, but I doubt that is the case," Lopez said.

"Operations in the EAA (Everglades Agriculture Area south of the lake) have interfered with the Army Corps’ ability to move water south and to keep it from being sent to the estuaries."

...

 

I'd like to see the sugar industry's protective tariff go away and tell the Corps that this is their new goal:

LakeOWatershed.jpg

But union$ $peak fondly of protective tariffs and so does the President so that's extremely unlikely to happen.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/17/2019 at 12:27 AM, jocal505 said:

Dude, back off. I am hardly an expert on the landmarks of Brooklyn, frenchie, if you get my drift.

I have lived and worked on the banks of the Columbia. I've climbed every rock above Rock Island dam, and few can say that. The Columbia  makes a rare 90 deg. turn in my home town. The Columbia effectively dissects the state, north to south. The Columbia forms the northern borders Oregon.  At its origin, the Columbia hoops to the North, in Canada, then back to the south. At the other end, the Columbia finds the Pacific.

None of these features are depicted in that link! I stand by what I said, and you are welcome to visit the area.

 

I used to live in Vancouver, which is at least the same Nation (Cascadia)...

It sounded like you were saying it wasn't there at all, and I was a bit confused: anyone who lives in the PNW and cares about rivers wouldn't recognize the overall shape of the drainage basin.

But I found higher-rez versions, and I can see what you mean: the 'artist' left the Columbia looking like a bunch of dis-connected segments, that drain to nowhere...

In his defence, it seems he's Hungarian, did it with software.  He's probably never set foot in the US.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3860062/The-veins-America-Stunning-map-shows-river-basin-US.html#ixzz4NpEezcqs)

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, frenchie said:

I used to live in Vancouver, which is at least the same Nation (Cascadia)...

It sounded like you were saying it wasn't there at all, and I was a bit confused: anyone who lives in the PNW and cares about rivers wouldn't recognize the overall shape of the drainage basin.

But I found higher-rez versions, and I can see what you mean: the 'artist' left the Columbia looking like a bunch of dis-connected segments, that drain to nowhere...

In his defence, it seems he's Hungarian, did it with software.  He's probably never set foot in the US.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3860062/The-veins-America-Stunning-map-shows-river-basin-US.html#ixzz4NpEezcqs)

 

The depiction was certainly an artist's rendering. I get to look down at the Columbia from 5400 feet these days. Awesome country. Rugged, raw, and expansive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
26 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

The Supremes are going to rule on the scope of the Clean Water Act.  Where you dump your waste will determine if you are dumping it into our waters.

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/06/776968335/supreme-court-justices-searching-for-a-compromise-in-major-environmental-case 

Hmm...

Quote

When environmental lawyer Henkin came to the lectern, he got equally skeptical questions from the justices. Justice Alito - let's take the ordinary family out in the country that has a septic tank, and they get a building permit for it. And then it turns out 10 years later that some things are leaching out of the tank into navigable waters. So they would be violating the Clean Water Act and subject to the $50,000 a day penalties. Lawyer Henkin replied that septic tanks are highly regulated all over the country and that these tanks don't pollute groundwater that goes into navigable waters anyway. Well, water runs downhill, grumped Justice Gorsuch.

Weird that the environmental lawyer agrees with the guy in El Jobean and Gorsuch appears not to agree, isn't it?

On 11/8/2018 at 6:04 AM, Fat Point Jack said:

A fellow over in El Jobean says that his 40 year old septic tank 20 feet from a canal that connects to the Myakka does not have any effect on water quality.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Our big lake is getting a big puddle
 

Quote

 

The Everglades and St. Lucie River, Caloosahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon may be getting an early — although long-awaited — Christmas present.

A bipartisan federal spending deal the U.S. House approved Tuesday contains the $200 million appropriation for Everglades restoration environmentalists have been seeking for years.

...

"This is excellent news, we’re beating the clock to avoid a shutdown and we’re getting almost triple the money for Everglades restoration than previously allocated," said Celeste De Palma, director of Everglades policy for Audubon Florida.

 

I thought about putting this one in the fiscal responsibility thread because funding was tripled.

The puddle project may do some good but removing the sugar tariff would do more, mostly by ending the US sugar industry.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
On 1/23/2020 at 9:47 AM, Mrleft8 said:

Trump Strips Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands

Heh. That's one way to put it. Here's another:

Trump Administration Repeals Federal Protections on Puddles, Dry Stream Beds, Some Ditches

As I noted a few years ago,

On 1/23/2016 at 7:16 PM, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

The devil is in the details, though. Everything within 4,000 feet of my pond is part of our navigable waters? Thing is, there are other ponds within that distance and others within the same distance of those. I seriously doubt if any part of Charlotte County is NOT part of our navigable waters under that rule.


The Clean Water Act was never intended to make every drop of water "federal" water because it might make its way to some navigable water one day.

from the link:

Quote

 

...Legal cases about the limits of what the federal government can regulate under the Clean Water Act stretch back decades. That law, which sets water quality standards and requires those emitting pollutants into regulated waters to obtain an EPA permit, gives the federal government power over the country's "navigable waters."

The law defines those navigable waters rather vaguely as "the waters of the United States." For decades, federal agencies claimed the power to regulate stream beds that were dry most of the year, ponds on private property, and even roadside ditches, all on the theory that these small bodies of water would eventually filter into navigable waterways.

In the 2006 decision Rapanos v. United States, a plurality of the Supreme Court rejected what it saw as the feds' effective claim of authority over all water in the country, instead saying that they could only regulate "relatively permanent, standing or flowing bodies of water" that had a "continuous surface connection" with "waters of the United States."

But because that was only a plurality opinion, with then-Justice Anthony Kennedy writing a concurring opinion saying the federal government had power over anything with a "significant nexus" to a navigable waterway, legal and regulatory disputes over the scope of the Clean Water Act have continued to the present day.

When Obama's EPA issued its 2015 WOTUS rule, it immediately attracted lawsuits, which resulted in federal courts in North Dakota, Texas, Georgia, and Oregon issuing rulings staying the rule's implementation in 27 states. When Trump administration tried to delay implementation of the rule to 2020, the courts slammed that down too, so the rule went into effect in 22 other states. (There's an open question over whether an injunction applies to New Mexico.)

...

 

The plurality definition from Rapanos v US makes sense to me. My pond would be part of the WOTUS under that rule but most of the nearby ones that I mentioned in 2016 would not.

I'm not sure if it would be part of the WOTUS under Justice Kennedy's "significant nexus" rule. My ditch is a nexus and water flows down it at about 50 gpm all the time. Is that significant? It is to me. Without it the spring would flood my yard!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Nestlé wants Florida’s drinking water for free - again

Carl Hiassen writes very good books and I've been reading his newspaper columns most of my life. I often disagree with them but this time he's almost completely right IMO.
 

Quote

 

Florida, perpetually in a water crisis, once again is poised to give away hundreds of millions of gallons that will end up in plastic bottles on the shelves of supermarkets.

A company called Seven Springs Water wants to renew a lucrative permit that allows the siphoning of Ginnie Springs, a scenic recreational site along the Santa Fe River near Gainesville.

For a farcical one-time fee of $115, Seven Springs would be allowed to withdraw almost 1.2 million gallons a day from a river system where the flows already have dropped 30 percent to 40 percent, according to the Florida Springs Institute.

 

A minor quibble: $115 is not "free" but it is basically a rounding error so close enough.
 

Quote

 

The Florida Springs Council, a consortium of 48 organizations focused on water issues in northern and central Florida is among the opponents of the Ginnie Springs expansion. It notes that the Santa Fe isn’t the same river it was 20 years ago, when the original usage permit was issued.

Trouble was evident as recently as 2013, when the Suwannee River Water Management District reported that the Lower Santa Fe had a “deficit of 11 million gallons per day.” Today, the river is considered to be at minimum flow.

 

That shows a bit of the scale of the problem. 1.2 million gallons/day is a lot. 11 million gallons/day is a lot more.

And that's in one part of the FL aquifer, which is all connected and doesn't really care about water management district lines. Down in my little part of it, dozens of people have old, abandoned, free-flowing artesian wells. One of them feeds my pond. 50 gallons per minute, which is 72,000 gallons/day each. I didn't count the free-flowing wells in post 116 and some probably do not have quite the flow rate of mine, but the combined total must be at least a few million gallons per day. Straight into the Gulf, all from one little county.

So Nestle is a big, bad corporation and makes a good political target but we could eliminate their usage entirely without making much of a dent in our problem.
Still, Hiassen and the Springs Council are right about this:
 

Quote

 

The sane response would be to reduce — not increase — the volumes being pumped out. A jump to 1.2 million gallons per day would more than quadruple the current impact on Ginnie Springs.

Rejecting or at least modifying the application seems like a wise and obvious choice for the Suwannee district board. Unfortunately, that vacancy-plagued panel is one of several that the governor seems to have forgotten.

Nestlé has big money and political clout, so the state is unlikely to completely shut off the Ginnie Springs spigot. Still, it wouldn’t be revolutionary to require water-bottling operations to start paying for what they take, as California does.The Florida Springs Council estimates that even a puny, one-cent-per-gallon fee on the Seven Springs/Nestlé permit would generate at least $400,000 a year that could fund restoration projects in the Santa Fe River Basin, which is fed by dozens of natural springs.

Statewide, the group says, a fee of only 50-cents-per-thousand gallons on companies such as Nestlé would raise “hundreds of millions of dollars to protect and sustain Florida’s waters.”

 

The idea that companies should pay for a use permit is already agreed: they're paying a whole $115. The amount seems ridiculously low. Charging them more would be fine with me.

Do we then apply that idea to people like me, who have runaway wells? Let's see... 72k gallons per day at a penny each is 720 bucks a day or $262,800/yr. This would quickly result in a "blood from a stone" problem.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Plenipotentiary Tom said:

Nestlé wants Florida’s drinking water for free - again

Carl Hiassen writes very good books and I've been reading his newspaper columns most of my life. I often disagree with them but this time he's almost completely right IMO.
 

A minor quibble: $115 is not "free" but it is basically a rounding error so close enough.
 

That shows a bit of the scale of the problem. 1.2 million gallons/day is a lot. 11 million gallons/day is a lot more.

And that's in one part of the FL aquifer, which is all connected and doesn't really care about water management district lines. Down in my little part of it, dozens of people have old, abandoned, free-flowing artesian wells. One of them feeds my pond. 50 gallons per minute, which is 72,000 gallons/day each. I didn't count the free-flowing wells in post 116 and some probably do not have quite the flow rate of mine, but the combined total must be at least a few million gallons per day. Straight into the Gulf, all from one little county.

So Nestle is a big, bad corporation and makes a good political target but we could eliminate their usage entirely without making much of a dent in our problem.
Still, Hiassen and the Springs Council are right about this:
 

The idea that companies should pay for a use permit is already agreed: they're paying a whole $115. The amount seems ridiculously low. Charging them more would be fine with me.

Do we then apply that idea to people like me, who have runaway wells? Let's see... 72k gallons per day at a penny each is 720 bucks a day or $262,800/yr. This would quickly result in a "blood from a stone" problem.

They are paying a whole lot more for the hydrologist commercials praising their draining of the state.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

March was the driest on record. Can the Everglades cope?
 

Quote

 

...

The situation was so extreme last month — with water conservation areas falling below safe levels — that water managers last Friday stepped up water restrictions, ordering residents to cut landscape irrigation to just twice a week, between 7 p.m. and 7a.m. with no more than an inch of water applied to lawns each week.

While water is being allocated for agricultural use, there is hardly any freshwater flowing south into Everglades National Park, as a recent presentation at the district’s monthly board meeting showed.

Big Cypress National Preserve was among the areas with the biggest rainfall deficit, Mitnik said.

The water that’s flowing south for water supply maintenance in southern Miami-Dade County isn’t enough to make it to Taylor Slough, a key conduit that takes freshwater south to Florida Bay. A large portion of Taylor Slough, which stretches from the east Everglades to the northern part of Florida Bay, is located inside the park, and is visible from the Anhinga Trail boardwalk near the Royal Palm visitor center.

It’s an area that should always have deeper water than the surrounding marshes, and where a slow current is present, like a shallow and slow-moving river.

With water depths decreasing dramatically since the start of the year, nothing is making its way south to Florida Bay, and salinity levels have become critically high, Lawrence Glenn, the district’s water resources chief, said during the video conference meeting of the governing board.

...

 

It rained a bit over most of FL yesterday, but probably not enough to make much difference.

It's always pretty dry around here from around March until whenever the thunderstorms begin their daily appearances in June. It's not always this dry, but I have seen it before. I have my own groundwater level gauge (sorta) and will post a pic later on when it gets light.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Supreme Court has gone a bit beyond the "navigable adjacent" standard.

Opinion analysis: The justices’ purpose-full reading of the Clean Water Act
 

Quote

 

Today the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that the Clean Water Act requires a permit when a point source of pollution adds pollutants to navigable waters through groundwater, if this addition of pollutants is “the functional equivalent of a direct discharge” from the source into navigable waters. Because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit applied a different legal test in determining that a permit was required for a sewage treatment facility operated by the County of Maui, the Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit’s judgment and remanded the case for application of the standard announced today.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Justice Stephen Breyer’s opinion for the majority – which drew the votes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as those of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – is its interpretive method. The opinion reads like something from a long-ago period of statutory interpretation, before statutory decisions regularly made the central meaning of complex laws turn on a single word or two and banished legislative purpose to the interpretive fringes.

Breyer put legislative purpose front and center in concluding that the interpretations offered by the County of Maui and the solicitor general would open a “large and obvious loophole in one of the key regulatory innovations of the Clean Water Act,” and allow “easy evasion of the [relevant] statutory provision’s basic purposes.” In describing the legal basis of the court’s ruling, Breyer twice placed the statute’s “purposes” as equal partners alongside “language” and “structure.” On this deeply textualist court, any reference to statutory purpose can draw a partial nonconcurrence, or even a dissent, from textualist justices. Today, however, Breyer’s invocation of legislative purpose – and even a brief discussion of legislative history! – went unchallenged by the five other justices who embraced his test for determining the reach of the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirement where discharges to groundwater are involved. (Kavanaugh joined the court’s opinion “in full,” but filed a concurring opinion mostly highlighting his agreement with Justice Antonin Scalia’s plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States, narrowly construing the “waters of the United States” protected by the Clean Water Act.)

 

Groundwater crosses state lines but there always has to be some tie-in to "navigable" waters.

Meanwhile, we're having quite a drought here and the groundwater level is low. Here's my gauge:

PondDrainApril2020.jpg

That's a 4" PVC pipe that drains water from the surface of my pond. Twice since I installed it in the 1990's, the water level has dropped below the level of the pipe, meaning the entire 50-60 gallon per minute output of the artesian spring is leaking out into the groundwater.

Hard to tell from the photo but it's pretty close to that point now and the groundwater doesn't bounce back until the daily thunderstorms start, usually the beginning of June. Here's what it looks like when the ground water is high.

The brick on top of the pipe in the video is covered with algae now but you can see it's exposed in the pic above.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

More on the emerging status of groundwater as the functional equivalent of navigable water
 

Quote

 

...

the Court has failed to give landowners any clear guidance as to when they might run afoul of federal regulations.

"As with any sort of balancing test, it's a mess of factors. There's no way of knowing how they're going to apply in any given situation, how to weight them, or what sort of tipping point you need to get to before it constitutes a functional equivalent," he says. "It's giving judges a blank check for how it's going to apply and how people will be punished."

This means individual landowners, companies, and other regulated entities can expect to be the target of Clean Water Act litigation for years to come, he says.

It could also have serious implications for the Trump administration's rewrite of clean water regulations, which is intended to narrow the definition of navigable waters that are regulated by the federal government.

On Tuesday, the administration published the final version of its Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which replaces the more expansive and legally controversial Waters of the United States rule the Obama administration had issued in 2015.

Among its many changes, the Trump administration's new rule declares that groundwater does not count as a navigable water under the Clean Water Act, and it's up to states and tribes, not the federal government, to regulate them.

Breyer's opinion that discharges into groundwater are in fact regulated by the law when they meet his functional equivalent test seems to conflict with this new rule. The majority opinion in Maui could thus provide more ammunition to environmental groups that have already promised to sue the Trump administration over its Navigable Waters Protection rule.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

Tyranny, it's just tyranny.  They are going to take my money or take my home without representation.

The City of Fat Point, as utility service provider for the Charlotte County subdivision, Charlotte Park has announced a Septic to Sewer program.  It will target about 900 homes in the subdivision.  Estimate: $11,000.

The citizens of Charlotte Park are represented by the Charlotte County commission who long ago gave up their responsibility for providing this service.  So it does little good for the citizens to be pissed at them.  As those citizens are not Fat Point citizens, they had no voice in this process.

I can't wait for the letters to the Ed start.  

The area is all in a Special Flood Zone and ground level is 3-6 feet above sea level.  New septic tanks are a mound in the yard.

My grandkids will have cleaner water

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Tyranny, it's just tyranny.  They are going to take my money or take my home without representation.

The City of Fat Point, as utility service provider for the Charlotte County subdivision, Charlotte Park has announced a Septic to Sewer program.  It will target about 900 homes in the subdivision.  Estimate: $11,000.

The citizens of Charlotte Park are represented by the Charlotte County commission who long ago gave up their responsibility for providing this service.  So it does little good for the citizens to be pissed at them.  As those citizens are not Fat Point citizens, they had no voice in this process.

I can't wait for the letters to the Ed start.  

The area is all in a Special Flood Zone and ground level is 3-6 feet above sea level.  New septic tanks are a mound in the yard.

My grandkids will have cleaner water

We can at least hope the last sentence is true, but when a big system has a problem we get some truly massive sewage spills.

That's a cool neighborhood. We own a canal lot on Larkspur and running a sewer in there will likely increase the value. Meanwhile, since it's not technically PG, or worse, PGI, you can do stuff like have a boat trailer in the yard. And it's walking distance to Publix.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Roseau River Watershed District Project
 

Quote

 

Last week, the Roseau County Landowners Coalition attended a Roseau Lake project work session to demand that the Roseau River Watershed District (RRWD) abandon plans to force farmers to install flood easements on or sell their productive, generational farmland, and, instead, work with farmers on a smaller project that would actually benefit the area. Unfortunately, at the meeting last Thursday, the coalition’s demands were largely disregarded with the RRWD Board Chairman even refusing to reject the taking of land from unwilling sellers.  

“The Roseau County Landowners Coalition’s position is simple: we will not support a project that takes private property away from unwilling sellers, nor a project that leaves private land worse off,” said Melanie Benit, a nutjob with the Institute for Justice (IJ), which is assisting the Landowners Coalition.

...

The coalition will inform relevant government agencies that taxpayer money should not fund the taking of private farmers’ land who do not want to sell. 

...

 

The article quotes a hydrologist/engineer who thinks the plan is a bad one. I'm sure one could be found who thinks the plan is a good one.

Sometimes big plans turn out to be mistakes, like draining the northern Everglades and turning it into farms. Seemed like a good idea (unless you were Marjorie Stoneman Douglas) at the time.

Either way, water management projects are as old as civilization and are, to me at least, a valid application of eminent domain buybacks.

I often agree with the nutjobs at IJ, but not this time, at least not with their main reason. "It's a bad plan" would be a good reason to reject it, if true. "These farmers don't wish to sell" is not a good reason and is the reason that the fifth amendment provides for buyingback land with just compensation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Not for nothing said:

 

Quote

“It’s not a good thing financially for any of us, and not a good thing for consumers because of a potential shortage during the holidays,” said Hundley Farms Vice President John Hundley, who grows green beans, sugar cane, sweet corn and rice. “You can’t go in and prepare, you can’t go in and plant, you can’t do anything. It’s a swamp.”

As noted above, draining a useless swamp and creating useful, rich farm land seemed like a good idea to almost everyone back when it was done.

The Army Corps of Engineers was disturbingly competent at getting that done.

They didn't leave an "undo" button anywhere, sadly. Yes, it's a swamp. We contained and diverted the water, which turns out to have been a very bad idea.

Quote

In 1982, a similar flooding event resulted in a state-permitted emergency deer hunt — a mercy killing — to cull starving animals. It was halted quickly by animal-rights activists. Sutton said the deer population is better managed now so that there are fewer animals and more food to go around.

A merciful mass starvation. Because it's right!

If I had two choices, be shot dead or starve to death, I'd take the bullet.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
12 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

Guy I used to work with went to graduate school at FSU.  when he retired he moved back to Tallahassee. I asked him why as he had no family there, his kids were in the Midwest, wife was not a Floridian, etc.  Said that part of the reason was the oysters from the bay.   I’m not an oyster guy but I get it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Fat Point Jack said:

 

Quote

 

The commission issued an emergency order in July shutting down oyster harvesting on Aug. 1 until it could consider the five-year shutdown. The industry has struggled for years, in large part because of a drain on freshwater flowing into the bay. Atlanta uses the water upstream as a water supply, and as it has drawn more water, it’s affected the salinity level in the bay that helps oysters thrive.

David Barber owns a wholesale and retail oyster and seafood business in nearby Eastpoint. He's one of less than a handful of wholesalers in a region that used to have dozens, but now he's selling Texas oysters.

Still, he thinks a five-year closure is going too far, saying the right conditions could help oyster populations spring back quickly.

“They should listen to the people who work the bay, especially some older guys," Barber said. “I don't think nobody in the county is against them closing it for a little while to let them repopulate. ... If it takes five years, that's another thing, but they can do it year by year.”

 

People who work the bay probably have opinions on how much water Atlanta uses but can't really do much about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Proposed Florida legislation eases derelict boat removal
 

Quote

 

...

The bill would create a new designation of "nuisance vessel," after a boat owner receives more than three "at risk" of becoming a derelict vessel violations in an 18-month period, then give Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission more powers to force owners to fix issues before their boat sinks and becomes the state agency's problem. That new "nuisance" designation will allow authorities to move the boat before it becomes derelict, sinks and becomes a much more polluting and expensive mess.

...

 

So not much help with the ones around here that have already sunk, but a good idea all the same IMO.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/17/2020 at 5:15 AM, Pedagogical Tom said:

 

People who work the bay probably have opinions on how much water Atlanta uses but can't really do much about it.

Atlanta has failed to do obvious things to reduce the consumption of water.  We are spending billions to keep our crap out the Chattahoochee.  https://www.atlantawatershed.org/most/

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

SCOTUS says Georgia's water use doesn't impact Florida's oysters.
 

Quote

 

...

Barrett bluntly stated that “[t]he fundamental problem with this evidence — a problem that pervades Florida’s submission in this case — is that it establishes at most that increased salinity and predation contributed to the collapse, not that Georgia’s overconsumption caused the increased salinity and predation.” Rather, prolonged multi-year drought and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operations were “confounding factors” that impacted Florida’s oysters. “Georgia’s consumption had little to no impact on the Bay’s oyster population,” Barrett wrote in her opinion

...

Turning to whether Georgia’s water consumption harmed other river wildlife and plant life, the court agreed with the second special master’s finding of a “complete lack of evidence” of such harm. Again, Barrett bluntly wrote, “Without stronger evidence of actual past or threatened harm to species in the Apalachicola River, we cannot find it ‘highly probable’ that these species have suffered serious injury, let alone as a result of any overconsumption by Georgia.”

The court did not even reach the second prong: whether the benefits to Florida “substantially outweigh” the harm. Instead, Barrett briskly concluded her 10-page opinion, holding that “Florida has not met the exacting standard necessary to warrant the exercise of this Court’s extraordinary authority to control the conduct of a coequal sovereign.”

...

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Piney Point's Gonna Blow

Quote

 

Less than a day after Manatee County issued an emergency evacuation order for nearby residents of the troubled Piney Point industrial site, public safety officials have announced new and immediate evacuations around the phosphate mine, declaring the collapse of the gypsum stack is “imminent.”

Several hours later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for the county.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not the first time.

The Clock is Ticking on Florida’s Mountains of Hazardous Phosphate Waste
Phosphate has also seeded Florida with the environmental equivalent of ticking time bombs.
By Craig Pittman  4/26/2017 at 2:28am  Published in the May 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine


One of the largest fertilizer manufacturing plants in the world sits about six miles southwest of the Polk County hamlet of Mulberry, with its entrance in walking distance of the Hillsborough County line. About 800 employees work there, turning phosphate rock into nearly 4 million tons of fertilizer and animal food ingredients every year.

They also produce a lot of waste. That’s not unusual for the phosphate industry.

SPONSORED

Meet 2020′s Women of Influence
Authenticity. Leadership. Empathy. Success. They know who they are and are passionate about what they do.

Presented by Sarasota Magazine

Drive through much of the Florida peninsula and the land you see is flat—flat as a pancake, flat as a billiard table, flat as a contestant on The Voice who’s about to get the boot. But at the Mulberry plant, and everywhere else the phosphate industry operates, you’ll see mountains. These are massive piles of waste materials called phosphogypsum that are left over from the fertilizer manufacturing process. They rise up to 200 feet high and cover some 400 acres. On top of each one is a pond of acidic water from 40 to 80 acres in size.

Many of those mountains belong to the same company that owns the Mulberry fertilizer plant, Mosaic. It’s the biggest phosphate company in the world and a major presence in Florida. Mosaic is currently mining phosphate rock on more than 70,000 of the 380,000 acres it owns in Manatee, Hillsborough, Polk and Hardee counties. Meanwhile, despite vocal public opposition, it recently won local government approval to expand its mining in Manatee County by more than 3,000 additional acres just a short drive from Sarasota County’s northern boundary—and from the source of its water supply.

Mosaic’s phosphate mines and fertilizer factories must store their waste this way because there is no other way to get rid of it safely. The phosphogypsum is mildly radioactive, enough so that it exceeds a level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed safe for humans. The industry has proposed using its waste for everything from wallboard to road-building material. But the EPA, since 1992, has repeatedly said no. So the only solution is to stack it.

SPONSORED

GeneroCity Nonprofit Giving Profiles 2020
Learn about the nonprofits that help shape our community.

Presented by Sarasota Magazine

About 25 stacks now dot the Florida landscape, and every year the waste must be piled up higher. In 2014, Mosaic asked Polk County officials for permission to make one of its Mulberry gyp stacks twice as wide and nearly 400 feet tall—taller than the highest natural point in Florida, which is 345 feet above sea level.

Most Floridians never see the stacks because they exist so far from the beaches and theme parks. If they know the name Mosaic at all, they know it from its television advertisements, the ones in which the company vows “to always take our commitment to the environment seriously” and touts its work “to keep the natural beauty of Florida...Florida.” Or they know it as a supporter of county fairs, local parks and museums, owner of a bird sanctuary, sponsor of Audubon programs, even for providing financing for a documentary about connecting Florida’s natural areas into one long wildlife corridor. In Sarasota County, for instance, it is a financial backer of the Mote Marine Laboratory’s fish hatchery, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ children’s rainforest exhibit and the county fair. Such endeavors burnish Mosaic’s image as a responsible—even desirable—corporate citizen.

Mosaic contends the stacks are safe because the company “complies with the standards for waste handling and disposal” set by the EPA and state Department of Environmental Protection. In fact, the company says, “Mosaic is one of the most highly regulated companies in the state of Florida.”

But from time to time, a problem crops up at one of the gyp stacks. Then the pond pooled on top spills out and threatens to poison a creek, a bay, or drinking water for miles around. The phosphate industry’s benign image cracks apart.

For instance, in 2004, Hurricane Frances became the second of four hurricanes to slam into Florida in a six-week period. When its winds whipped across Hillsborough County, big waves churned up on the pond atop a 180-foot-tall gypsum stack at a phosphate plant in Riverview. The waves bashed a big hole in the dike around the pond, sending 65 million gallons of polluted water cascading down the stack’s side into a stormwater ditch around its 400-acre base and, ultimately, into Archie Creek, which flows into Hillsborough Bay. It killed fish and drove away other marine life.

So while phosphate provides plenty of paying jobs, boosts America’s crop yields and fill the campaign coffers of numerous Florida politicians, it’s also seeded Florida with the environmental equivalent of ticking time bombs.

In August, at the Mulberry plant, one of those bombs went off.

Ap 239442173395 awdrfq
IMAGE: JIM DAMASKI/TAMPA BAY TIMES VIA AP FILE

The first sign something had gone wrong happened on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 27. Workers checked the water level in a 78-acre pond of polluted water sitting atop its 190-foot gyp stack and discovered it had dropped by more than a foot.

They decided it was just the wind blowing the water around. But around 11 a.m. Sunday, they checked again and realized the level had now dropped three feet.

What was sucking down all that contaminated water? A sinkhole 45 feet wide and 220 feet deep had opened up beneath the stack. Down went 215 million gallons of contaminated water, gurgling into the aquifer that supplies the region’s drinking water.

Yet as the water drained down the hole, Mosaic employees, their consultants from Ardaman & Associates and state DEP inspectors all avoided saying the s-word. For 10 days they called it an “anomaly,” or “a water loss incident.”

Geologists say it should have been obvious right from the start what was happening. But not until the pond had drained out completely and everyone could see the fissure did they finally call it what it was.

A big reason geologists say it should have been obvious is history. One of the biggest Florida sinkholes ever recorded opened in 1994 at the very same facility where the Aug. 28 sinkhole opened. At 160 feet wide and 200 feet deep, it was so big wags dubbed it the new Disney ride, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Like the 2016 sinkhole, it also sucked the pond from a gyp stack like water draining out of a bathtub. It happened just 1¼ miles from the new sinkhole.

Even after Mosaic and the DEP acknowledged that this new pond-draining event was a sinkhole, no one told the public what had happened. Florida law says neither the state nor the company involved has to notify anyone else about pollution spills until there’s some sign the pollution has migrated outside the property where it went into the aquifer. (As of the end of December, more than 1,000 tests of water from wells around Mosaic’s plant by a Mosaic contractor and by the DEP have not found any evidence it migrated into anyone’s drinking supply.)

Neither Mosaic nor the government said a word about what was happening until Sept. 15, when a reporter for WFLA-Ch. 8 called Mosaic and the DEP to ask about rumors regarding the sinkhole. Only then did Mosaic make it public. On Sept. 20, the company apologized for keeping quiet.

“We deeply regret we didn’t come forward sooner,” Walt Precourt, senior vice president of phosphate for the company, told the Polk County Commission. “Any explanation about why we didn’t would ring hollow.”

Initially, Gov. Rick Scott—whom the DEP did not notify about the sinkhole until after it hit the news—defended the agency’s silence. A week later, he reversed himself and called for a new approach. From now on, he said, he wanted any company or local government that spills a pollutant to notify the public about it, no matter where it ends up. Scott has vowed to push the 2017 Legislature to change the law to make that a requirement.

“It’s based on my experience in business,” Scott explained to reporters. “When something like this happens you say to yourself afterward, what can we do better?”

Yet the history of phosphate in Florida has largely been a story of doing the same destructive thing over and over.

Ap 16273509892668 jyygdg
IMAGE: JIM DAMASKI/TAMPA BAY TIMES VIA AP FILE

Phosphate has been a part of Florida’s economy for more than a century. First discovered in the Peace River by a Corps of Engineers captain in 1881, Florida’s phosphate deposits today form the basis of an $85-billion industry that supplies three-fourths of the phosphate used in the United States.

To get at the underground deposits, the miners use a dragline with a bucket the size of a truck. It scoops up the top 30 feet of earth and dumps it to the side of the mine pit. Then the dragline scoops out the underlying section of earth, which contains phosphate rocks mixed with clay and sand. The bucket dumps this into a pit where high-pressure water guns create a slurry that can then be pumped to a plant up to 10 miles away.

At the plant, the phosphate is separated from the sand and clay. The clay slurry is pumped to a settling pond, and the phosphate is sent to a chemical processing plant where it is processed for use in fertilizer and other products. The sand is sent back to the mine site to fill in the hole after all the phosphate is dug out—years after the mining began.

When phosphate miners destroy a wetland, they promise to replace it a few decades later when they’re finished—a seemingly impossible task.

“You’re really talking about creating wetlands after 60 to 80 feet of earth have been souffléed,” Florida wetlands expert Kevin Erwin said in 2005.

The odds against success are higher than any gyp stack. Forty percent of the land that’s left behind after mining is covered by the clay-slurry settling ponds. Within five years a crust forms on top of the ponds, but the stuff under the crust remains about as soft as a bowl of chocolate pudding. That means the old clay settling areas are too unstable for building. Meanwhile the sand-filled pits drain too fast to hold water—a serious problem for any would-be wetland.

The industry’s track record for making up for wetlands damage isn’t pretty. In 2002, in preparation for a lawsuit in which he was listed as an expert witness, Erwin toured several new wetlands built by IMC-Agrico. Erwin found that virtually all the wetlands the company built were deep marshes, with standing water two to four feet deep, instead of the thousands of acres of pine flatwoods that had once existed there.

Erwin said he asked his IMC tour guides to show him how the company had recreated a wet prairie. That particular type of environment is extremely difficult to rebuild, he said, but the site the mining officials showed him surprised him. The vegetation looked perfect, as if it had been growing there for decades. But then Erwin looked a little closer and discovered that this wet prairie had no roots.

“What they’d done is gone out in a wet prairie before it was mined and used a sod cutter,” Erwin said. They sliced a swath of vegetation, rolled it up, and then when they were ready unrolled it like a section of carpet, he said.

But the miners forgot something important. “I took some borings and the water table was several feet below the surface,” Erwin said. Since wetlands need water flowing through them to survive, this manmade wet prairie was unlikely to last long.

Destruction of wetlands is a major reason why, in December, four environmental groups—the Center for Biological Diversity, ManaSota-88, People for Protecting Peace River and Suncoast Waterkeeper—filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over their review of the impact of phosphate mining on 50,000 acres.

The mining approvals had been based on a 2013study published by the Army Corps that said creating those mines will destroy nearly 10,000 acres of wetlands and 50 miles of streams, causing a “significant” impact.

But the study—prepared for the Army Corps by a consultant paid by the phosphate industry—contended miners would do such a good job of making up for the damage that eventually the damage wouldn’t be noticeable at all.

“Without mitigation, a lot of the effects would be significant—on wetlands, on groundwater, on surface water,” Corps senior project manager John Fellows said when the study was released. “No question about it, mining is an impactive industry.” 

The phosphate industry produces a lot more waste than just the stuff in the gyp stacks. In 2012, the Southwest Florida Water Management District granted Mosaic a permit to pump up to 70 million gallons of water a day from more than 250 wells in Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, Hardee and DeSoto counties, an area that since 1992 has been under tight restrictions for any new residential and commercial water use. Some of those millions of gallons—no one can say how much—is used to dilute Mosaic’s polluted waste so it can be dumped into creeks without violating state regulations.

Without that freshwater to dilute it, what Mosaic is discharging would violate the state limits on a type of pollution called “conductivity,” a term that refers to the solids that are left in the waste after it’s processed.

In other words, dilution is the solution to their pollution.

The issue of how much water Mosaic pumps out of the ground was explored by a 2013 environmental impact study on phosphate mining commissioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps’ report found that the miners’ water use in some areas could lower the aquifer by up to 10 feet. However, it contended the aquifer would eventually recover—once the mining ended and the pumping stopped.

That approach to pollution control is completely legal under Florida law. But something else Mosaic was doing with its waste was not.

In 2003, the Piney Point phosphate plant, near the southern end of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, leaked some waste from atop its gyp stack into the edge of Tampa Bay after its owners walked away. That prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to launch a national review of phosphate mining facilities.

As a result, in 2007, the EPA took Mosaic to court, accusing the company of improper storage and disposal of waste from the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids at its Florida facilities in Bartow, New Wales, Mulberry, Riverview, South Pierce and Green Bay, as well as two sites in Louisiana. The EPA said it had discovered the company’s employees were mixing highly corrosive substances from its fertilizer operations with the solid waste and wastewater from mineral processing, in violation of federal and state hazardous waste laws.

In 2015, Mosaic agreed to settle the case. The EPA, in a news release, said the 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste addressed in this case “is the largest amount ever covered by a federal or state . . . settlement and will ensure that wastewater at Mosaic’s facilities is properly managed and does not pose a threat to groundwater resources,”

Mixing the waste was something everyone in the industry did, according to Richard Ghent of Mosaic’s Florida operations. The EPA said that violated both state and federal law and put groundwater at risk. It had previously won settlements from two other companies, one of which, CF Industries, has since been taken over by Mosaic.

To settle the case, Mosaic agreed to invest at least $170 million at its fertilizer manufacturing facilities to keep those substances separate going forward. Mosaic also agreed put money aside for the safe future closure of the gypsum stacks and created a $630 million trust for that purpose. That money will be invested until it reaches $1.8 billion, which will pay for the closures.

What remains unknown is how many more gyp stack bombs will explode between now and then—and what the industry will do with its waste once the gyp stacks are shut down.

Ap 16273508872996 mzjvnj
An aerial view of the Mulberry plant.

IMAGE: AP PHOTO/CHRIS O’MEARA

Dennis Mader grew up in Bone Valley, the area of Polk County where nearly all of the state’s phosphate industry was located until a few years ago. It got that name because the phosphate miners sometimes dug up prehistoric fossils along with the ore.

Mader remembers how dusty the air was all the time, and how the water often tasted “like kerosene and mud.” He and his buddies would camp out at the mines sometimes, back before security gates kept the public out.

“It was like No Man’s Land,” he recalled.

These days Mader, now a Hardee County resident, is president of 3PR, an environmental group promoting the protection of the Peace River, and a diehard opponent of allowing phosphate mining to expand its footprint. As the Polk mines played out, Mosaic’s predecessors began laying the groundwork for a move south into Manatee, DeSoto and Hardee counties, opening new mines and expanding old ones. Meanwhile Mosaic is trying to figure out how to make money off the old mining sites—for instance, it has turned one near Bartow into the Streamsong Resort.

Mader’s biggest argument against the expanded mining is the most obvious. “They have proven they can’t handle their waste stream,” he says.

In 1997, amid heavy rains, a dam broke atop one of two gypsum stacks at the Mulberry Phosphates plant on State Road 60, unleashing a 56-million gallon spill of the acidic wastewater into the Alafia River. The pollution killed everything in its path for 42 miles, eventually rolling into Hillsborough Bay. The death toll included more than 1 million baitfish and shellfish and 72,900 gamefish near the river’s mouth, 377 acres of damaged trees and other vegetation along the riverbank, and an unknown number of alligators. When state officials hit the company with a multimillion-dollar fine for the damage done, it declared bankruptcy and shut down. (Its insurance company wound up footing the bill.) Ten years later, local and state officials were still working on restoration projects. Meanwhile the old gyp stack was taken over by a larger company—Mosaic—with plans to close it permanently.

Florida’s leading industry is tourism. Nearly 100 million tourists visit the state every year. They show up because Florida’s air and beaches are clean and free of pollution. One catastrophic gyp stack leak like the one that happened in 1997 can lay waste to an entire estuary, creating fishkills and other impacts that can drive the tourists away for years. To Mader, the two industries—tourism and phosphate—are like trains running straight toward each other on the same track.

“It’s this head-on collision,” he says, “between this industry and the environment of Florida.”

Craig Pittman is an award-winning journalist for the Tampa Bay Times; he’s also won a number of awards for pieces for Sarasota Magazine. He’s the author of four books, most recently, Oh, Florida: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country.

Feature image by Virginia Hoffman. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gee whiz surprise surprise.  People just look the other way until they can't.  When the problem gobsmacks them along side the head!   I am a cave diver and we have seen the quality of water in the springs deteriorate over the years due to the ag industry fertiliser, cow and chicken shit....   Then on top of that the water bottling companies like coke draw huge amounts out for export about the country so dilution isn't even possible.  FL is drying up and when they can't find a glass of clean, unpolluted water they will just blame someone else.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, justsomeguy! said:

This wouldn't be a problem if all you goddam whiny libby-rulls would just quit complaining about the environment

- DSK

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

This wouldn't be a problem if all you goddam whiny libby-rulls would just quit complaining about the environment

But we gotta have our chocolate phosphates!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope that we don't get an early tropical storm that stalls.  10 inches of rain will really fuck things up like it did several years back.

And of course, Tom, Sol, Jules, Sarosa, Mrleft8 and I will have the pleasure of paying for this.

A dead corporation person can't.

By ABC7 Staff | April 5, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT - Updated April 5 at 8:30 PM
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida legislators will consider a budget amendment that would include funds to pay for the complete cleanup and closure of the Piney Point phosphogypsum stacks, it was announced Monday.

State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, will sponsor an amendment that would use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan “to ensure full cleanup and restoration,” of the site, which could cost up to $200 million, Boyd said in a news release.

“This is an issue that has impacted our community for a quarter of a century, and I am grateful to Gov. (Ron) DeSantis for prioritizing this cleanup and promising to hold the responsible parties accountable,” Boyd said. “This is a huge step forward for our community.”

The amendment will add Boyd’s initiative to the state budget bill, making the issue available for consideration when the Florida Legislature finalizes the fiscal year 2021-22 budget later this month.

“This has been a catastrophe waiting to happen for too long,” Simpson was quoted as saying. “With at least one prior accident and now another, recent events have illuminated the need to fix this problem and put it behind us once and for all.”

The American Rescue Plan is an initiative announced by President Joe Biden to, among other things, distribute additional stimulus checks to Americans, mount a national vaccination program, contain COVID-19, and safely reopen schools.

Copyright 2021 WWSB. All rights reserved.

Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Fat Point Jack said:

I hope that we don't get an early tropical storm that stalls.  10 inches of rain will really fuck things up like it did several years back.

And of course, Tom, Sol, Jules, Sarosa, Mrleft8 and I will have the pleasure of paying for this.

A dead corporation person can't.

By ABC7 Staff | April 5, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT - Updated April 5 at 8:30 PM
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida legislators will consider a budget amendment that would include funds to pay for the complete cleanup and closure of the Piney Point phosphogypsum stacks, it was announced Monday.

State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, will sponsor an amendment that would use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan “to ensure full cleanup and restoration,” of the site, which could cost up to $200 million, Boyd said in a news release.

“This is an issue that has impacted our community for a quarter of a century, and I am grateful to Gov. (Ron) DeSantis for prioritizing this cleanup and promising to hold the responsible parties accountable,” Boyd said. “This is a huge step forward for our community.”

The amendment will add Boyd’s initiative to the state budget bill, making the issue available for consideration when the Florida Legislature finalizes the fiscal year 2021-22 budget later this month.

“This has been a catastrophe waiting to happen for too long,” Simpson was quoted as saying. “With at least one prior accident and now another, recent events have illuminated the need to fix this problem and put it behind us once and for all.”

The American Rescue Plan is an initiative announced by President Joe Biden to, among other things, distribute additional stimulus checks to Americans, mount a national vaccination program, contain COVID-19, and safely reopen schools.

Copyright 2021 WWSB. All rights reserved.

I think any federal taxpayer is footing the bill for the ARP funding they're talking about allocating.

The current owners and/or their insurers are going to get a bill too. They bought a problem, that's how it goes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Shambolic Tom said:

I think any federal taxpayer is footing the bill for the ARP funding they're talking about allocating.

The current owners and/or their insurers are going to get a bill too. They bought a problem, that's how it goes.

Ya cain't pay your bill when you are belly up.

 
Company that owns former Piney Point phosphate mine filed bankruptcy, sued by bank
Gov. DeSantis pledges to make owner pay

During a tour of the former Piney Point phosphate mine on Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged he would hold the property owner financially responsible for the mess.

piney point.PNG
    By: Adam WalserPosted at 5:32 PM, Apr 05, 2021 and last updated 9:30 AM, Apr 06, 2021
PALMETTO, Fla. — During a tour of the former Piney Point phosphate mine on Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged he would hold the property owner financially responsible for the mess.

But the ABC Action News Team has uncovered that might be a difficult task.

“Please allow me to begin with, this is very unfortunate. I am very sorry, and all steps and measures that I know of are being taken,” said HRK Holdings, LLC employee Jeff Barath last Thursday to Manatee County Commissioners.

He was called to the meeting last Thursday to explain how a small leak quickly became a major emergency, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of residents the next day.

The contaminated water stored on the site has been an issue since the phosphate mine shut down in 2001.

“The county didn’t permit this site, we didn’t create this mess, yet here we are,” said Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge.

Gov. DeSantis, who toured the site Sunday, has mobilized the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other resources to help.

“Our administration is dedicated to full enforcement of any damages to our state’s resources and holding the company HRK accountable for this event. This is not acceptable. This is not something we will allow to persist,” DeSantis said.

Barath assured commissioners the company will make it right.

“This is my community, too. And we are doing everything possible to prevent a true catastrophe, which would be the failure of that stack system,” Barath said.

RELATED: Toxic water at Piney Point has plagued the Tampa Bay area for decades prior to emergency evacuation

But getting the company to come up with millions of dollars to pay for containment and clean-up could be a problem.

The company’s authorized representative is William F. Harley, III. of Massapequa, New York. He’s a hedge fund manager who recently became CEO of a medical marijuana venture.

Prior to that, records show he owned multiple Hooters franchises and served as a director and major investor Frederick’s of Hollywood, which sells lingerie and adult novelties.

Harley signed off as the debtor on a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for HRK Holdings, LLC. in 2012, just six years after the company was formed. It currently leases space to multiple companies that have operations near Port Manatee.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the company included an exhibit saying it needed money to repair and monitor the facility. The document says, “If the materials are not properly monitored and maintained, or if a gypstack failure occurs, the materials may pose a risk to the environment in the future.”

During and after the bankruptcy case, HRK Holdings continued to borrow millions from a bank, but according to a foreclosure lawsuit filed in Manatee County Circuit Court last November, the company didn’t pay it back.

The phone number for HRK Holdings, LLC. in Manatee County is disconnected.

If you have a story you think the I-Team should investigate, email us at adam@abcactionnews.com

Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserv

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/13/2019 at 6:09 AM, Excoded Tom said:

Got an email from our fearless leader.
 

Quote

 

A Message from Florida Sea Grant - UF/IFAS Extension:

Hi Everyone! I trust everyone has dried out from Saturday's event. First, thank you for coming out and making the attempt to do this year's survey. The weather unfortunately was not conducive to our needs but we did get some data. 

We had 13 teams that were able to get at least one sight surveyed and of those 13, four teams were able to complete all 4 surveys. 

At the end of the day, no scallops were found and 15 hard clams were found. Although we were not able to document any scallops on Saturday, the Aquatic Preserves staff have found 2 doing seagrass surveys for their own projects...so there are at least a couple out there. Clams were documented by 6 teams which is great!

If I can get out this week, I am going to survey some of the grids that didn't get done. Several of you offered to go back out as well. If you are interested, let me know and I will get email grids and datasheets. I could still accept data thru the end of the month to be compiled with this year's results. 

I have to say this annual search is one of my favorite events because of your enthusiasm and support. I am sorry it took longer to email you the results than normal. I took a little r and r time after the event :-)

Thank you again for everything,

Betty

 

Expand  

Hmmm... so only four boats stayed out after the lightning started and mine was one of the four. #iamfloridaman

From the article linked above:
 

Quote

 

The Great Bay Scallop Search provided a snapshot of adult bay scallop populations in the last 11 years in Charlotte County waters. This is the first year clams are added to the survey. Participants are also asked to identify and report the type of sea grass, clams and scallops that are spotted. Each team was assigned a search location. The volunteers snorkel each side of the line while pushing a one-meter PVC pole through the seagrass looking for bay scallops.

As boats came in, Staugler learned bay scallops weren’t seen in the waters before lightning and rain shut down the search. There were reports of half scallops and several clams.

“This is my first year helping,” said Englewood resident Tom Ray. “I only found a half of a scallop shell and a clot of clam shells and a couple of clams. I did the best I could but it was really tough to see out there.”

Bay scallops require good water quality during the 12 to 18 months they begin spawning late in the summer.

 

Expand  

Umm... I'm really not from Englewood but I did say something like that to her. We were surveying more by feel than by sight and that's how I found the one clam I found. The guy with me was also feeling around on the bottom so I'm guessing he found them using the braille method too.

And it's really not true that we get 18 months of summer per year but it sometimes feels that way in August.

The 2020 seagrass surveys were cancelled because... well, everyone knows why.

But we're on again for 2021. I went to a meeting yesterday and was trying hard to remember the scientific names for things like Turtle Grass and the techniques we were supposed to use and the records we were supposed to keep. I showed up a bit late and missed the first part of the instructions, so I was worrying about whether I would get it right.

As the meeting wrapped up and got to the "any questions?" part, I just asked what I could do and where to be most useful. Our fearless leader, Betty, said, "Are we going to be a team again this year?" With yuge relief, I said yes, that would be great.

So we're planning on looking at three sectors along Charlotte Harbor's west wall next Friday, weather permitting.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites