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Report for 08/01/2014

A letter to Mr. Spear of the Orlando Sentinel from Mike Meridith, lifetime resident of Orange County

Please see this Orlando Sentinel article... Linked below to your servers:

Drainage Wells May Endanger Drinking Water
After Heavy Rains, 400 Wells Spill Pollutants Into Aquifer
May 28, 1996|By Craig Quintana of The Sentinel Staff

About the same time this article was printed, I was President of the Central Florida Well Drillers Association and wrote then Governor Lawton Chiles a letter voicing my concerns over the continued use of these drainage wells in Central Florida. Nothing has been done about the 900 lb gorilla sitting in the corner of the room and everyone is focused on the one tiny mosquito buzzing around.

In September of 2009, I wrote you a letter in response to one of your articles regarding the Apopka Septic -vs- Spring issue, and again, nothing further was said about the continued use of drainage wells in Orange County.

It's this "out of sight, out of mind" attitude that is destroying our springs. Oh, but there are homes near the spring on septic, lets target them...

Per the SJRWMD,, the springs average flow is 62.64 Cubic Feet per second, (CF to Gallons = CF x 7.482) this equals 468.67 Gallons per second x 60 = 28,120.3 Gallons per minute x 60 = 1,687,220.92 Gallons per hour of water expelling from the Floridan Aquifer.

The septic flow is as follows: the US Avg daily sewer flow is 400 Gallons per day, I bumped that up to 600 Gallons per day because we may take extra baths/showers or wash more clothes due to the heat...

380 homes x 600 Gallons per day = 228,000 Gallons per day of septic flow divided by 24 hrs = 9,500 gallons per hour...

The hourly Septic Effluent flow of 380 homes is one half of one percent ( 0.5631% ) of the hourly outflow of Wekiwa Springs. Now factor in ALL of the springs in the local vicinity and that value is even further diminished.

But this septic tank effluent pretty much stays in our yards, most is lost through plant uptake and some percolates / filters down to the surficial aquifer (surface water), the nitrogen & phosphorus is taken up by the roots of our landscaping plants & trees... Maybe 2-5% of this eventually makes it's way into the Floridan Aquifer but after how many years of filtering through the natural confinement layers (think of the Brita Water Filter commercials)??? And after it has been mixed and diluted by the naturally existing surface ground water. This is comparable to dumping a pound of salt in Lake Apopka and seeing if the chloride level changes. It won't be noticed.

The problem is with the approximately 400 Storm water Drainage wells in Orange/Lake/Seminole Counties that are dumping MILLIONS of gallons of dirty water each day directly into the Floridan Aquifer system with no filtering mechanism like mother nature has provided. excerpt: "One lake overflow drainage well injected an estimated 6,900 pounds of nitrogen and 450 pounds of phosphorus into the aquifer in 1988. Increasing calcium concentrations in groundwater down gradient from the drainage well indicate that dissolution of the limestone may be occurring. Higher sulfate concentrations in the groundwater were associated with the wet season and higher inflows to the drainage well, indicating that oxygenated inflow water may be converting hydrogen sulfide gas contained within the groundwater to sulfate."

Some further info on drainage wells...

Google Books: Orlando Drainage Wells

Before we spend Millions of tax dollars on shady science that will have little to no affect on the health of the springs, let's look at the real issue and source of contamination in the Floridan Aquifer, Florida's dirty secret - Drainage Wells...

Mike Meridith

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