Controversy continues to dog the cooling system at Florida Power & Light Co.’s 3550-MW Turkey Point Power Station in Florida City despite the utility’s June 20 consent agreement with the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection. On July 12, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Tropical Audubon Society filed a citizen lawsuit under the Clean Water Act, claiming that seepage of polluted water from the plant’s vast cooling canal system is contaminating Biscayne Bay.

The June consent agreement—aimed at stopping groundwater contamination and drawing back a hypersaline plume that has migrated four miles to the west—fell short, SACE says. “This document is strikingly similar to Miami-Dade County’s consent agreement and the DEP’s 2014 Administrative Order, which only deals with a remediation plan to the west of the canal system,” said Laura Reynolds, representing SACE in an initial review. “We do not think this addresses the issues with Turkey Point’s leaking cooling canal system to the east of the canals [to Biscayne Bay] by requiring mitigation for damages and an increased monitoring plan. Additionally, we do not feel this is a true cleanup plan as we still see the same mass of salt loaded daily and a perpetual demand on water in the area.”

“The canals are not lined and they are actually built to communicate with the groundwater,” says Peter Robbins, FPL spokesman. FPL does not consider that to be leakage. The canals, permitted in the early 1970s as an industrial wastewater facility, are operating normally, he says. The “top priority” then, he adds, was to avoid pulling water directly out of Biscayne Bay and discharging it directly back. Also, “we were mandated to build them after litigation.”