Benthic Macroalgal Blooms as Indicators of Nutrient Loading from Aquifer-Injected Sewage Effluent in Environmentally Sensitive Near-Shore Waters Associated with the South Florida Keys

  •  Sydney T. Bacchus    
  •  Sergio Bernardes    
  •  Thomas Jordan    
  •  Marguerite Madden    


Domestic wastewater is injected into Florida’s permeable aquifer system via Class I and Class V wells theoretically to avoid nutrient loading and other contamination that occurs when domestic wastewater is discharged directly to surface waters, resulting in nutrient loading and harmful algal blooms (HABs). The majority of Class I aquifer-injection wells are used to inject secondary-treated effluent from domestic wastewater treatment plants. Class V aquifer-injection wells also include injection of domestic wastewater. As of July 28, 2014, 257 Class I aquifer-injection wells and 14,466 Class V aquifer-injection wells had been permitted in Florida by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), with 34 Class I wells and 10,671 Class V wells located in the Florida Keys, Monroe County and Miami-Dade County, in southeast Florida. The presumption is that the injected wastewater will be contained within the aquifer zone where the injection is permitted and not move into overlying aquifer zones or surface waters. No large-scale monitoring in surface waters is conducted to confirm that the predominantly non-saline domestic wastewater injected into aquifer zones of higher salinities is not discharging to surface waters, such as the near-shore coastal waters in southeast Florida that provide habitat for coral reefs and federally threatened and endangered species, such as sea turtles and manatees...

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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