An Update on Indian River County, FL’s Spoonbill Marsh Industrial Wastewater Facility.

 

spoonbill-marsh-sue-zimmermann1

Painting of Spoonbill Marsh by Sue Zimmermann

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY UTILITIES (IRCU) DIRECTOR VINCENT BURKE HAS BEEN VERY FORTHCOMING IN SUPPLYING VERO COMMUNIQUE UPDATES ABOUT IRCU’s PERMIT RENEWAL APPLICATION FOR THE IRC SPOONBILL MARSH INDUSTRIAL WASTE WATER FACILITY.

You may recall our previous article about how IRCU’s permit renewal application presented hard data, which to be appeared in conflict with a 8.20.2016 email sent by Mr. Barry Shapiro to 64 public officials, environmentalists and media contacts indicating he had been “led to believe this is not only an environmental tragedy but also a potentially criminal action.” He filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Here is the link to our previous article:

https://verocommunique.com/2017/04/23/hard-data-is-in-conflict-with-the-unsubstantiated-allegation-that-indian-river-county-fls-spoonbill-marsh-is-not-only-an-environmental-tragedy-but-also-a-potentially-criminal-action/

It is also worth noting that, to add salt to the wound, on 10.6.16 Samantha Baita wrote an article in VeroNews.com entitled: “Environmentalists call ‘Spoonbill Marsh’ toxic waste dump.”

http://www.veronews.com/32963_features/environmentalists-call-spoonbill-marsh-toxic-waste-dump/article_3a5e624a-8be7-11e6-93ff-8bbba782ee55.html

But, as we wrote, when you dig down into Kimley-Horn’s IRCU’s permit renewal application, Mr. Shapio’s complaint to the FDEP related to alleged pollution at the Indian River County Spoonbill Marsh filtration facility did not appear to have any merit.

Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. prepared the IRC Utilities permit renewal.  The 2014 Engineering News-Record named Kimley-Horn No. 33 of the top U.S. design firms list.

Here’s the status of the IRCU’s permit renewal application.

On 4.14.2017 Bradley Akers, Permitting Engineer of FDEP wrote Mr. Burke a First Request for Additional Information requesting information on three points, as summarized below:

  1. “Please explore options to automate the flow data collection out of WIM-02…an automated system will likely be more and accurate in the future.”
  2. “We would like to have a better understanding of the original design and operational requirements of the Environmental Resource Permit.  Since substantial work has been done to the north boundary road to isolate the western part of isolate the western portion of the marsh ponds; are there any future plans for improvements to the ditch on the northeastern portion, either by DOT, the County or others that would help isolate if from the property to the north.?”
  3. “On page 9 of the Performance Summary, a request was made to increase the nutrient Waste Load Allocations (WLA’s).”  There is a need to “evaluate options and methods of reporting the nutrient allocations.”

On 5.12.2017 Mark D. Miller, P.E., Vice President of Kimly-Horn, responded to Mr. Akers of FDEP.

  1. “Alternative flow measurements are currently being explored to automate the effluent flow reading.  A continuously monitoring Doppler acoustic flow meter was recently installed and currently being tested in the WIM-02 location.  Once the data is compiled and reviewed IRCU will share results along with the current method of grab low readings.”
  2. “See attached Environmental Resources Permit Number 31-256136.001.  There was no condition in this permit to improve the North boundary road.  However, the North boundary along the FDOT drainage ditch was recently built-up using native shellrock in order to prevent the potential for sheet flows from or to the FDOT drainage ditch.  During severe events (i.e. hurricanes, autumn tides, etc.) there is the potential for water to enter or exit the Spoonbill Marsh area depending on the extreme event and time of day.”
  3. “Currently the water treatment plant is limited in production capacity even though the facility CAN produce more water and byproduct.  Please keep IRCU informed as to the progress of increasing the WLA for this facility.”

This is a developing process and Vero Communique will continue to keep you informed.

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