Florida Power & Light and Miami-Dade (Fla.) County have tentatively agreed to build a new wastewater plant to provide reused water for the utility’s massive cooling canals at its Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Homestead.

The plan, which must be approved by the county commission, would reduce the need to draw from the Floridan Aquifer for Turkey Point’s 5,900 acres of cooling canals as well as help FPL meet a 10-year state timeline to clean up saltwater in the canals that has been creeping into drinking wells. Further, the proposal would help the county meet a state mandate to reduce the amount of wastewater it disposes into the ocean.

Announced on Jan. 30 by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R), the plant would treat up to 60 million gallons of reused wastewater a day. The water would be used in the canals, which cool the nuclear plant, as well as to cool a natural-gas plant on the site.

In his State of the County address, Gimenez said the plan could recycle up to 20 billion gallons of water a year and prevent the removal of up to 10 billion gallons of water from the aquifer, helping to drought-proof the cooling canals. “The project will also serve as a stepping-stone to other reclaimed-water projects that could meet 100% of our reuse goals and offer a reliable and safe source of water to rehydrate regional wetlands,” he said.

Neither the county nor FPL provided any costs, timelines or other specifics regarding the plant.

“This project is an exciting opportunity to make real progress in conserving water resources in South Florida. The teaming of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Dept. with Florida Power & Light represents a paradigm shift in water management toward resilient systems that integrate wastewater and stormwater systems with regional energy infrastructure,” said Melissa Meeker, co-CEO of the Water Research Foundation, in a statement.

The plan is moving forward, with the expectation that the 1970s-era Turkey Point nuclear units will receive a second 20-year extension, which would keep the plants operating until 2052 and 2053. Turkey Point is the first plant to apply for a second 20-year extension with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The county also announced that FPL will install one million solar panels in the county, with 223 MW of capacity.