On June 20, 2018 a new organization was formed, the “Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County” (CWC). CWC is an umbrella coalition – their members/partners are organizations, businesses and people with like interests and concerns – who are hoping to make a difference by being a larger group by way of their partners focused on water quality in Indian River County, FL.
To date 22 partners have signed a pledge of support and participation.
The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County (CWC) will hold an open-house meeting on January 17, 2019 at 7:00 p. m. at the River House, 305 Acacia Rd, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Refreshments and appetizers will be served. For more information, click here for details or call Charlie Pope at 772 567-9000.
The organization was formed out of shared concern for our local waters and inspired by The Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition and The Rivers Coalition of Martin County, members of Pelican Island Audubon, Coastal Conservation Association, Indian River Neighborhood Association, About Bethel Creek, Indian River Land Trust and other environmental groups.
According to Paul Fafita, CYC president and organizer of the Clean Water Organization, who is also the President of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Assoc. and a fishing guide:
“Making a difference is a collective impact. While there are 700+ non-profits in the community, many do the same things on their own. It is our goal to have our members/partners cooperate and work together – if you remember the issue with the Oslo Boat Ramp recently. The CCA, Audubon, IRNA, ORCA and many others working together for one cause. That’s what a strong coalition can do. That’s what the CWC can do.
Oslo Boat Ramp
The thought of a coalition came to me after attempting (like many others) to get the attention of our elected officials. Many of them, we feel, look at folks as ‘how many voters do they represent’. Having frustrations like many concerned about the Indian River Lagoon, sewage issues and numerous other clean water issues, I began contacting organizations and other concerned folks.
After many months we have established a Board of Directors, a Vision and Mission Statement. We have been meeting regularly learning what the “key” issues are and with the help of our ‘partners’ (other folks, organizations and businesses with like interests) we want to address them to our elected officials with the hopes of some resolutions.
We will be addressing these concerns at public meeting and by addressing our elected officials at City Council/County Commission/Legislative Delegation Meetings. The Clean Water Coalition is speaking for ‘Many Organizations with one Voice’.
The ‘coalition’ with its’ partners (other organizations) increases the size of the ‘voice'”.
To 22 partners have signed a pledge of support and participation.
They have agreed to either:
- Appoint a representative to attend CWC meetings and activities, read minutes, reports and newsletters to keep abreast of the CWC’s decisions and activities.
- Disseminate relevant information to organizational members
- Inform the Clean Water Coalition about OUR organization’s related activities
CWC is an advocacy – educational organization only working on issues dealing with clean water, healthy lagoon, septic to sewer, no bio-solids, etc.
CWC creates opportunities for collective impact on targeted water quality issues.
We seek out expert advice and evaluate and discuss problems and potential solutions.
We make a study of how communities, in other places and at other times, solved the same types of problem we face today in our community.
Education and awareness are a central mission. We seek to bridge the gap between technical experts and the general public by sharing with the public information, knowledge and insights we’ve developed.
CWC favors investment in cost-effective technologies that (1) reduce the nutrient load of municipal sewer and private septic systems, and (2) increase water supply through water recycling.
Components of CWC initiative:
Water pollution arising from development is a multi-faceted problem having the largest impact on the waters of our community.
- Septic-to-Sewer. Accelerate phased elimination of systems. Prioritize conversion based on cost-benefit. Mandate connection where service provided. Provide economic incentives, and easy payment and repayment terms.
- Tertiary treatment of Reuse Irrigation Water. City of Vero Beach (COVB) reuse water is very high in nutrient concentration. It is a leading cause of near-shore nutrient pollution on the barrier island. COVB must at least move to tertiary treatment as the County did several years ago.
- Water Reclamation. When the City of Vero Beach replaces its 17th Street plant, it should consider potable reuse technology that is in use in many other places, and is cost-competitive today. This would also benefit water supply and reduce our current 100% reliance on the Floridan Aquifer.
RESPONSIBLE BIOSOLIDS DISPOSAL
Mass application of nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich biosolids to open land is a threat to our waters.
The solid waste from sewage treatment plants should not be spread on farmland. A six-month moratorium was put in place by Indian River County after ORCA, Pelican Island Audubon Society, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper found toxic conditions with cyanobacteria levels at 4,700 parts per million (ppm) in Blue Cypress Lake last spring, which has now been extended another six months.
The moratorium needs to be made permanent.
Biosolids are the de-watered sewage by-product of wastewater (sewage) treatment plants. Despite the name, biosolids are predominantly water, typically containing only 20% solids.
Because they are biologically active, nutrient-rich, and contain chemical compounds as well as toxic metals, disposal of biosolids onto open land is a major threat to our waters.
Indian River County and City of Vero Beach systems responsibly dispose of their biosolids by placing them in a landfill.
Until more advanced processes are adopted, landfills remain the more responsible disposal option because liquids are confined and captured at the bottom of the pile, and do not escape into the larger environment. The captured leachate is then re-processed in the water treatment plant.
That said, in Florida–especially southeastern Florida–landfills are fast running out of space. For this reason, dumping biosolids onto open land has become the least-expensive, preferred disposal method–even if it means hauling it 100 miles or more.
Boats should use private or municipal pump-out facilities rather than discharge their treated or untreated sewage and graywater into the Indian River Lagoon.
The State of Florida must designate the Indian River Lagoon as a “No-Discharge Zone” to have an enforceable rule.
CWC believes that nutrient-pollution impairment of the Indian River Lagoon is sufficient evidence to require a ban as provided under Section 312(f)(4)(A) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1322(f).
On October 18th, 1972, President Nixon signed into law a number of amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, creating the modern Clean Water Act.
The Clean Water Coalition will work with state and federal elected representatives to have the Indian River Lagoon designated as a No Discharge Zone.
Under section 312 of the CWA, vessel sewage may be controlled through the establishment of areas in which discharges of sewage from vessels are not allowed. These areas are also known as “no-discharge zones” (NDZs).
CWC supports the upgrading of pump-out facilities at the City of Vero Beach Municipal Marina.
WASTE WATER RECLAMATION
Cost-effective purification of treated wastewater for industrial and consumer use has been successfully implemented in a number of systems in the US and abroad.
Singapore, a city-state of 5 million, processes water from its wastewater treatment plants through reverse-osmosis to achieve ultra-pure water that exceeds WHO and US drinking water standards. Singapore water agency PUB branded this recycled water as “NEWater.”
CWC favors the adoption of cost-effective water reclamation technology when it comes time to replace aging plants.
Please go to the CWC FaceBook page at Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County and/or their website at www.ourwaters.org for more information.