2017 ISEESEA Organization picks up the ball and starts pressuring the FDEP to do their job. Calls on the city who could step in but doesn't and now here we are looking for everyone to get involved please help us!!!!!!! YES YOU!!! DO NOT LET OUR CHILDREN DOWN
As you know, the City has received a number of e-mails regarding the cooling system discharge from the Cloisters. While the City has been peripherally involved with this issue over the years, it has really been an ongoing permitting matter between the Cloisters and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”). A little bit of history regarding the installation:
Late 1960’s - The two Cloisters structures (“Complex”) were constructed. The Complex cooling system utilized an intake well on the property from which cooler groundwater water was pumped, ran through a heat exchanger to cool the building’s AC system, and discharged to the ocean through an 8 inch pipe. There were no chemicals added to the groundwater; it acted purely as a heat transfer medium. [This installation and discharge pipe was constructed prior to the Clean Water Act of 1972, which created a number of new pollution control regulations, including discharge permits.]
1999 The Complex cooling system was becoming increasingly less efficient and the complex’s consultant recommended a new larger intake well be constructed. During the permit review process, the City’s Building Department referred the project to the FDEP due to the system discharge. The FDEP determined that a discharge permit was necessary, and noted that the alternate solutions would be construction of an injection well for the discharge water, or the construction of a cooling tower. The Complex argued for a grandfathered discharge and the FEDP determined that a discharge could not be grandfathered. However, a permit was not applied for by the Complex nor granted by FDEP.
2001 In preparation for a beach renourishment in the area, the City’s consultant noted that there were 4 pipes extending from the beach in the renourishment area (two of which were from the Complex). The consultant noted that the openings of several of the discharge pipes might be covered by the new sand, and recommended these discharge pipes be extended so they would not be impacted by the renourishment.
2002 Apparently without a permit from FEDP, the Complex reportedly extended their discharge pipe further into the ocean.
2005 Hurricane Wilma damaged the Complex discharge pipe. The Complex wanted to repair the existing pipe. The FDEP noted that a discharge permit would be required.
2007 The FDEP issued a 90 day warning letter to the Complex due to the continuing use of the discharge pipe. As a result, the Complex submitted monthly records to the FEDP of the amount of discharge and the temperature of the ocean and the discharged water. [During the monthly reporting, the average discharge water temperature was about 84 degrees and the average flow rate was about 1.6 million gallons per day.] The Complex argued that the discharge was exempt from permitting. The FDEP disagreed.
2008 The FDEP required that the Complex follow one of three options: 1) submit an application for an industrial discharge permit, 2) construct a cooling tower, or 3) construct an injection well.
2009 After a meeting between FDEP and representatives of the Complex, and some exchange of correspondence, the FDEP sent notice to the Complex that they would have to apply for a permit by May 30, 2009 (approximately 60 days from the meeting). The Complex submitted a permit application. It was deemed to be incomplete by the FDEP. A second submittal by the Complex was also determined by the FDEP to contain incomplete items.
2010 The FDEP sent a reminder to the Complex of the incomplete status of the permit application.
There does not appear to have been any additional follow-up on this matter by the FDEP since 2010. A completed discharge permit application has not been submitted by the Complex, nor has any permit been granted by the FDEP.
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2016 Unpermmited repair job, witnessed by google earth. Temp pipe dumps on the beach while work is being done. That same temp., blue pipe is in use again now after hurricane Irma.