The aim of this project is to investigate engineering methods to reduce salinity in the cooling canals at the Florida Power & Light (FP&L) Turkey Point Power Plant. In order to stop discharging hot water from the plant into the adjacent Biscayne Bay, a cooling canal system was made operational in 1972 that occupies an area 3.2 km wide by 8.0 km long extending south of the plant. The 5,900 acre canal system has been measured at twice the salinity of the adjacent Biscayne Bay at as high as 68 ppt [Appendix i]. Florida Power & Light added a canal along the western perimeter of the cooling canal system to intercept seepage. The interceptor ditch enables FP&L to pump seepage back into the canal system during the dry season thus reducing the groundwater flow of hypersaline water to the west.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) are monitoring a saltwater plume migrating west of FP&L property (FDEP/SFWMD Miami-Dade Saltwater Intrusion Presentation pg 3). Tidal influences have a profound effect on saltwater intrusion, so it is difficult to quantify the influence of the canals on this plume. To ensure that FP&L has no culpability in the contamination of ground water, the cooling canals should either operate at a lower level of salinity or be isolated to restrict flow to underground sources of water.

Isolation, however, is not an appealing option as the methods which have been conceptualized are highly invasive. Environmental concerns are abundant as the ecosystem within the cooling canals supports at least 17 protected species of birds and animals of South Florida. Over 25% of the world’s population of the American crocodile resides in the Turkey Point cooling canals. Very few organisms require a hypersaline condition to thrive; therefore, lowering the salt concentration of the canal system is not expected to have adverse effects upon the ecosystem. Careful attention must be paid to ensure wildlife survival during treatment and/or disposal system development and operation.

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